Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 11948–11957 | Cite as

Dissolved organic matter distribution and its association with colloidal aluminum and iron in the Selenga River Basin from Ulaanbaatar to Lake Baikal

  • Morimaru Kida
  • Orgilbold Myangan
  • Bolormaa Oyuntsetseg
  • Viacheslav Khakhinov
  • Masayuki Kawahigashi
  • Nobuhide Fujitake
Research Article


The Selenga River Basin (Mongolia and Russia) has suffered from heavy metal contamination by placer gold mining and urban activities in recent decades. The objectives of this study were to provide the first distribution data of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and humic substances (HS) in this data-scarce region, and to investigate their association with dissolved and colloidal metals. Two sampling campaigns were conducted in August of 2013 and 2014. A constant proportion of HS (%HS; coefficient of variation of 2%) was observed from the headwater of Tuul River to the end of the delta before Lake Baikal, spanning > 1000 km in distance. The relationships were determined as [HS] = 0.643 × [DOM] (R2 = 0.996, P < 0.001), and this value (%HS = 64.3) is recommended as an input parameter for metal speciation modeling based on samples collected from the rivers. The DOM and metal (Al and Fe) concentrations in samples doubled through the Zaamar Goldfield mining area, but the influence was mitigated by mixing with the larger Orkhon River, which has better water quality. Metals were mainly present as colloids and had a strong positive correlation with DOM (Al r = 0.81, P < 0.01; Fe r = 0.61, P < 0.01), suggesting that DOM sustains colloidal Al and Fe in solution and they are co-transported in the Selenga River Basin. Land use changes affect water quality and metal speciation and therefore have major implications for the fate of metals.


Contamination DOM Heavy metal Humic substances Metal speciation Model VI Stockholm Humic Model Visual MINTEQ 



This study was financially supported by National University of Mongolia (grant number P2016-1222) and JSPS KAKENHI grant number 25304001. We would like to thank K. Maki from Kobe University for the assistance in data collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Agricultural ScienceKobe UniversityKobeJapan
  2. 2.Department of Geography, Graduate School of Urban Environmental SciencesTokyo Metropolitan UniversityTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryNational University of MongoliaUlaanbaatarMongolia
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryBuryat State UniversityBuryatiaRussia

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