Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 30, pp 23518–23527 | Cite as

Characteristics of phosphorus components in surface sediments from a Chinese shallow eutrophic lake (Lake Taihu): new insights from chemical extraction and 31P NMR spectroscopy

  • Runyu Zhang
  • Jingan Chen
  • Liying Wang
  • Fengchang Wu
Research Article


As a primary factor responsible for lake eutrophication, a deeper understanding of the phosphorus (P) composition and its turnover in sediment is urgently needed. In this study, P species in surface sediments from a Chinese large eutrophic lake (Lake Taihu) were characterized by traditional fractionation and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and their contributions to the overlying water were also discussed. Fractionation results show that NaOH-P predominated in the algal-dominated zone, accounting for 60.1% to total P in Zhushan Bay. Whereas, refractory fractions including HCl-P and residual-P were the main P burial phases in the macrophyte-dominated zone, the center and lakeshore. Recovery rates of the total P and organic P were greatly improved by using a modified single-step extraction of NaOH-EDTA, ranging from 22.6 to 66.1% and from 15.0 to 54.0%. Ortho-P, monoester-P, and pyro-P are identified as the major P components in the NaOH-EDTA extracts by 31P NMR analysis. Trace amount of DNA-P appeared only in sediments from algal- and macrophyte-dominated zones, ascribing to its biological origin. The relative content of ortho-P is the highest in the algal-dominated zone, while the biogenic P including ester-P and pyro-P is the highest in the macrophyte-dominated zone. Moreover, ortho-P and pyro-P correlated positively with TP and chlorophyll a in the overlying water, whereas only significant relationships were found between monoester-P, biogenic P, and chlorophyll a. These discrepancies imply that inorganic P, mainly ortho-P, plays a vital role in sustaining the trophic level of water body and algal bloom, while biogenic P makes a minor contribution to phytoplankton growth. This conclusion was supported by the results of high proportion of biogenic P in algae, aquatic macrophytes, and suspended particulate from the published literature. This study has significant implication for better understanding of the biogeochemical cycling of endogenous P and its role in affecting lake eutrophication.


Sediment Biogenic phosphorus Eutrophication Fractionation 31P NMR 



This work was jointly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 41273151, 41573133), the State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry (SKLEG2015301), the Science and Technology Project of Guizhou Province ([2015]2001), and the Opening Project of Key Laboratory of Solid Waste Treatment and Resource Recycle, Ministry of Education (13zxgk03). Two anonymous reviewers are thanked for their constructive comments, which greatly improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Runyu Zhang
    • 1
  • Jingan Chen
    • 1
  • Liying Wang
    • 1
  • Fengchang Wu
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Environmental GeochemistryInstitute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Environment Criteria and Risk AssessmentChinese Research Academy of Environmental SciencesBeijingChina

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