Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 6, pp 1209–1218 | Cite as

Phosphorus fractions in the surface sediments of three mangrove systems of southwest coast of India

  • Manju Mary Joseph
  • C. S. Ratheesh Kumar
  • K. R. Renjith
  • T. R. Gireesh Kumar
  • N. Chandramohanakumar
Original Article


The phosphorus fractions in three tropical mangrove systems of Cochin region were analysed by sequential extraction method. Iron-bound phosphorus was the major fraction in the first two stations, while station 3 was exclusively dominated by calcium-bound phosphorus. Compared to other stations, about tenfold increase in total phosphorus content was observed at station 3. This station is a congregation of communally breeding birds, and there is accumulation of bird guano. Mineralogical analysis showed the presence of monetite, a thermodynamically metastable calcium phosphate mineral, in this unique system. The excreta and carcass of the birds in this sanctuary seems to be the reason for the formation of monetite, which is favoured by periodic fluctuations in redox potential. The high mass percentages of calcium and phosphorus by XRF and SEM–EDS analysis confirm the existence of calcium phosphate mineral at station 3. First two stations did not show any noticeable difference in phosphorus fractions and inorganic fractions constituted to about 65% of total phosphorus. But at station 3, inorganic fractions were about 92%. Low C:P ratios and low organic phosphorus content indicated active mineralisation of phosphorus at station 3. Bioavailable fractions of phosphorus at stations 1 and 2 were about 75%, whereas 98% of the total phosphorus was bioavailable at station 3. Since the bulk of the total phosphorus is bioavailable, these mangrove sediments have the potential to act as source of phosphorus to the overlying waters.


Mangrove sediments Phosphorus fractions Sequential extraction Geochemistry Guano Monetite 


  1. Alongi DM (1989) The role of soft-bottom benthic communities in tropical mangrove and coral reef ecosystems. Rev Aquat Sci 1:243–280Google Scholar
  2. Alongi DM (1998) Mangroves and salt marshes. In: Coastal ecosystem processes. CRC Press, Florida, pp 43–92Google Scholar
  3. Anderson LD, Delaney ML, Faul KL (2001) Carbon to phosphorus ratios in sediments: implications for nutrient cycling. Global Biogeochem Cycles 15:65–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrieux F, Aminot A (1997) A two-year survey of phosphorus speciation in the sediments of the Bay of Seine (France). Cont Shelf Res 17:1229–1245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bridgham SD, Updegraff K, Pastor J (1998) Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus mineralization in northern wetlands. Ecology 79:1545–1561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caraco NF, Cole JJ, Likens GE (1989) Evidence for sulfate controlled phosphorus release from sediments from aquatic systems. Nature 341:316–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caraco NF, Cole JJ, Likens GE (1993) Sulfate control of phosphorus availability in lakes—a test and reevaluation of Hasler and Einsele model. Hydrobiologia 253:275–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crosby SA, Millward GE, Butler EI, Turner DR, Whitfield M (1984) Kinetics of phosphate adsorption by iron oxyhydroxides in aqueous systems. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 19:257–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. De Groot CJ (1990) Some remarks on the presence of organic phosphates in sediments. Hydrobiologia 207:303–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. De Groot CJ, Golterman HL (1993) On the presence of organic phosphate in some Camargue sediments: evidence for the importance of phytate. Hydrobiologia 252:117–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diaz-Espejo A, Serrano L, Toja J (1999) Changes in sediment phosphate composition of seasonal during filling. Hydrobiologia 392:21–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Effler SW (1987) The impact of a chlor-alkali plant on Onondaga lake and adjoining systems. Water Air Soil Pollut 33:85–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Feller IC, Whigham DF, Mckee KL, Lovelock CE (2003) Nitrogen limitation of growth and nutrient dynamics in a disturbed mangrove forest, Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Oecologia 134(3):405–414Google Scholar
  14. Gaudette HE, Flight WR (1974) An inexpensive titration method of organic carbon in recent sediments. J Sed Petrol 44:249–253Google Scholar
  15. Golterman HL (1996) Fractionation of sediment phosphate with chelating compounds: a simplification, and comparison with other methods. Hydrobiologia 335:87–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Golterman H, Joelle P, Laura S, Elena G (1998) Presence of and phosphate release from polyphosphates or phytate phosphate in lake sediments. Hydrobiologia 364:99–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grasshoff K, Ehrhardt M, Krembling K (1983) In: Grasshoff K, Ehrhardt M, Krembling K (eds) Methods of seawater analysis. Verlag Chemie, Weinheim, pp 89–224Google Scholar
  18. Hecky RE, Campbell P, Hendzel LL (1993) The stoichiometry of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in particulate matter of lakes and oceans. Limnol Oceanogr 38:709–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hess D (1975) Plant physiology. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Hirata S (1985) Phosphorus and metals bound to organic matter in coastal sediments—an investigation of complexes of P, Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn, Ni, Co and Ti by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission Spectrometry with sephadex gel chromatography. Mar Chem 16:23–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holmer M, Andersen FO, Holmboe N, Kristensen E, Thongtham N (1999) Transformation and exchange processes in the Bangrong mangrove forest-seagrass bed system, Thailand. Seasonal and spatial variations in benthic metabolism and sulfur biogeochemistry. Aquat Microb Ecol 20:203–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Howarth RW, Jensen HS, Marino R, Postma H (1995) Transport to and processing of P in near-shore and oceanic waters. In: Tiessen H (ed) Phosphorus in the global environment: transfers, cycles and management. Wiley, New York, pp 323–345Google Scholar
  23. Ingall ED, Van Cappellen P (1990) Relation between sedimentation rate and burial of organic phosphorus and organic carbon in marine sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 53:373–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jayaprakash AA (2002) Long term trends in rainfall, sea level and solar periodicity: a case study for forecast of Malabar sole and oil sardine fishery. J Mar Biol Assoc India 44:163–175Google Scholar
  25. Jayson EA (2001) Structure, composition and conservation of birds in Mangalavanam mangroves, Cochin, Kerala. Zoos Print J 16(5):471–478Google Scholar
  26. Jeng WL, Huh CA (2001) A comparison of the sterol composition of shelf and slope sediment off northeastern Taiwan. Appl Geochem 16:95–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jennerjahn TC, Ittekkot V (2002) Relevance of mangroves for the production and deposition of organic matter along tropical continental margins. Naturwissenschaften 89:23–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jensen HS, Kristensen P, Jeppesen E, Skytthe A (1992) Iron:phosphorus ratio in surface sediment as an indicator of phosphate release from aerobic sediments in shallow lakes. Hydrobiologia 235(236):731–743CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jensen HS, Mortensen PB, Andersen FO, Rasmussen E, Jensen A (1995) Phosphorus cycling in a coastal marine sediment, Aarhus Bay, Denmark. Limnol Oceanogr 40:908–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jensen HS, McGlathery KJ, Marino R, Howarth RW (1998) Forms and availability of sediment phosphorus in carbonate sand of Bermuda seagrass beds. Limnol Oceanogr 43:799–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Joseph MM, Ratheesh Kumar CS, Gireesh Kumar TR, Renjith KR, Chandramohanakumar N (2008) Biogeochemistry of surficial sediments in the intertidal systems of a tropical environment. Chem Ecol 24(4):247–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kristensen E, Devol AH, Ahmed SI, Saleem M (1992) Preliminary study of benthic metabolism and sulfate reduction in a mangrove swamp of the Indus Delta, Pakistan. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 90:287–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krumbein WC, Petti John FJ (1938) Manual of sedimentary petrography. Appleton Century Crofts, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. Kufel L, Prejs A, Rybak JI (1997) Shallow lakes ’95. Hydrobiologia 342(343):1–416Google Scholar
  35. Lacerda LD, Ittekot V, Patchineelam SR (1995) Biogeochemistry of mangrove soil organic matter: a comparison between Rhizhophora and Avicennia soils in south-eastern Brazil. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 40:713–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Menon NN, Balchand AN, Menon NR (2000) Hydrobiology of the Cochin backwater system—a review. Hydrobiologia 430:149–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moore DM, Reynolds RC (1997) X-ray diffraction and the identification and analysis of clay minerals, 2nd ednGoogle Scholar
  38. Narayanan T (2006) Sterols in mangrove sediments of the Cochin estuary. PhD thesis, Cochin University of Science and Technology, pp 124–126Google Scholar
  39. Nriagu JO (1976) Phosphate clay mineral relations in soils and sediments. Can J Earth Sci 13:717–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Onac BP, Veres DS (2003) Sequence of secondary phosphates deposition in a karst environment: evidence from Magurici Cave (Romania). Eur J Miner 15:741–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reddy KR, D’angelo EM (1994) Soil processes regulating water quality in wetlands. In: Mitsch WJ (ed) Global wetlands: old world and new. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 309–324Google Scholar
  42. Reddy KR, Delaune RD (2008) In: Biogeochemistry of wetlands: science and applications. CRC Press, Boca Raton, 387 ppGoogle Scholar
  43. Rosily AV (2002) Sulphur chemistry in mangrove systems of tropical Cochin estuary. PhD thesis, Cochin University of Science and Technology, pp 65–74Google Scholar
  44. Ruttenberg KC, Berner RA (1993) Authigenic apatite formation and burial in sediments from non upwelling continental margin environments. Geochem Cosmochem Acta 57:991–1007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ryden JC, Mclaughlin JR, Syer JK (1997) Mechanism of phosphate sorption and hydrous ferric oxide gel. J Soil Sci 21:353Google Scholar
  46. Salcedo IH, Medeiros C (1995) Phosphorus transfer from tropical terrestrial to aquatic systems—mangroves. In: Tiessen H (ed) Phosphorus in the global environment. Transfers, cycles and management, Scope 54, ICSU, UNEP. Wiley, New York, pp 347–362Google Scholar
  47. Schenau SJ, de Lange GJ (2001) Phosphorus regeneration vs. burial in sediments of the Arabian Sea. Mar Chem 75:201–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Sebastian R, Chacko J (2006) Distribution of organic carbon in tropical mangrove sediments (Cochin, India). Int J Environ Stud 63:303–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Silva CAR, Mozeto AA (1997) Release and retention of phosphorus in mangrove sediments: Sepetiba Bay, Brazil. In: Kjerfve B, Lacerda LD, Diop EHS (eds) Mangrove ecosystem studies in Latin America and Africa. United Nations Educational Publisher, The Hague, pp 179–190Google Scholar
  50. Silva CAR, Sampaio LS (1998) Speciation of phosphorus in a tidal floodplain forest in the Amazon estuary. Mangroves Salt Marshes 2:51–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Silva CAR, Lacerda LD, Silva LFF, Rezende CE (1991) Forest structure and biomass distribution in a red mangrove stand, Sepetiba Bay, Rio de Janeiro. Rev Bras Bot 14:21–25Google Scholar
  52. Silva CAR, Mozeto AA, Ovalle ARC (1998) Distribution and fluxes as macrodetritus of phosphorus in red mangroves, Sepetiba Bay, Brazil. Mangroves Salt Marshes 2:37–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Srinivas K (1999) Seasonal and interannual variability of sea level and associated surface meteorological parameters at Cochin. PhD thesis, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  54. Stevenson FJ (1982) Humus chemistry; genesis, composition, reactions. Wiley, New York, p 443Google Scholar
  55. Subramaniyan V (2000) Impact of socio-economic development on the mangrove ecosystem of Cochin in Kerala. In: Sharma KV (ed) Environmental problems of coastal areas in India. Bookwell, Delhi, pp 191–199Google Scholar
  56. Tyrell T (1999) The relative influence of nitrogen to phosphorus on oceanic primary production. Nature 400:525–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Volkman JK, Barrett SM, Blackburn SI, Mansour MP, Sikes EL, Gelin F (1998) Microalgal biomarkers: a review of recent research developments. Org Geochem 29:1163–1179CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manju Mary Joseph
    • 1
  • C. S. Ratheesh Kumar
    • 1
  • K. R. Renjith
    • 1
  • T. R. Gireesh Kumar
    • 1
  • N. Chandramohanakumar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Oceanography, School of Marine SciencesCochin University of Science and TechnologyKochiIndia

Personalised recommendations