Distribution and chemical fractionation of heavy metals in recent sediments from Lake Taihu, China

  • Ji ShenEmail author
  • Enfeng Liu
  • Yuxin Zhu
  • Shouyun Hu
  • Wenchuan Qu
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 194)


Lake Taihu is one of the most contaminated lakes in China. Surface sediment data show that the northern area of the Lake has the worst heavy metals pollution, and high heavy metal concentrations were attributed to discharge of untreated and partially treated industrial waste water from cities to the north of the lake. To study geochemical features and pollution history of heavy metals, total content and chemical fractionations of Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn were analyzed for core sediments from western Lake Taihu using the speciation extraction procedure, proposed by the Commission of the European Communities Bureau of Reference (BCR), together with grain size and organic carbon measurements. Results show that sediments are composed of organic-poor clayey-fine silts for Cores MS and DLS, and have similar geochemical features shown by heavy metals. Cu, Fe, Ni, and Zn mainly are associated with the residue fraction, Mn is concentrated in the exchangeable-carbonate and residue fractions, and Pb is concentrated in the Fe-Mn oxide fraction and organic-sulfide fraction. The fractions of Ni, Pb, and Zn bound to Fe-Mn oxide show significant correlations with Mn from the Fe-Mn oxide fraction, and the organic-sulfide fractions of Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn are correlated with TOC. The increase of Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn content and percentage of extractable fractions in the upper layers of the sediments are correlated with anthropogenic input of heavy metals due to rapid industrial development. This coincides with rapid economic development in the Taihu basin since late 1970s. Heavy metals in the surface sediments have certain potential biological toxicity as shown by the higher SEM/AVS ratio.


Heavy metals Sediments Distribution Fractionation Lake Taihu 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji Shen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Enfeng Liu
    • 1
  • Yuxin Zhu
    • 1
  • Shouyun Hu
    • 1
  • Wenchuan Qu
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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