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Spatial and Seasonal Distribution of 2-Methylisoborneol in a Large Eutrophic Shallow Lake, China

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Musty and earthy substances represented by 2-methylisoborneol (2-MIB) are important pollutants not only affecting the water quality but also threatening the security of drinking water sources in lakes and reservoirs. In this study, we investigated the spatial and seasonal distributions of 2-MIB in waters of Lake Yangcheng, a large eutrophic shallow lake in China. Driving factors affecting the production and accumulation of 2-MIB were further analyzed. The results showed that 2-MIB concentrations in Lake Yangcheng ranged from 0.4 to 940.6 ng/L, with a high annual average concentration of 35.6 ng/L. Distinct seasonal and spatial variations of 2-MIB were found in the lake waters. Specifically, 2-MIB concentrations were highest in summer, followed by spring and autumn, and lowest in winter, whereas 2-MIB concentrations generally exceeded the odor threshold (< 10 ng/L) in the first three seasons. Spatially, 2-MIB concentrations were highest in the eastern lake, and followed by the central and the western lake. The environmental conditions of a higher water temperature and lower TN:TP ratio (TN:TP < 29:1) were more favorable to the production and accumulation of 2-MIB in Lake Yangcheng. The algal abundance analysis and correlation analysis showed that cyanobacteria species including Microcystis spp. and Phormidium spp. were closely related to the production of 2-MIB and were considered as the main driving factors of the accumulation of 2-MIB in Lake Yangcheng. Therefore, controlling the eutrophication level and algal blooms are of great importance to alleviate 2-MIB pollution in lake waters.

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Data Availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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The authors would like to thank Yunben Li, Weiting Liu and Jingya Xue for their kind help with sampling and analysis. We thank Edanz Editing China for basic language editing of a draft of this manuscript.


The authors received financial support granted by the National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFE0105900), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41877488, 41771122), the Jiangsu Natural Science Foundation (BK20171075), the Science and Technology Service Network Initiative of Chinese Academy of Sciences (KFJ-STS-QYZD-2021–01-002), the Construction Plan for Overseas Scientific Education Base of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (SAJC202106), and the China Scholarship Council.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by Qiushi Shen, Anjie Wu, Yadong Wang, Kurt Friese, Lu Zhang, Chao Han, and Dejun Kang. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Anjie Wu and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Qiushi Shen.

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Wu, A., Wang, Y., Friese, K. et al. Spatial and Seasonal Distribution of 2-Methylisoborneol in a Large Eutrophic Shallow Lake, China. Water Air Soil Pollut 232, 387 (2021).

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