Original paper

The effect of organic matter accumulation on phosphorus release in sediment of Chinese shallow lakes

Liu, Yunbing; Guo, Yaxin; Song, Chunlei; Xiao, Wenjuan; Huang, Daizhong; Cao, Xiuyun; Zhou, Yiyong


The effects of organic matter in sediment on phosphorus release were studied by field investigations in eight Chinese shallow freshwater lakes with different trophic status and a laboratory experiment. The sediment organic matter content paralleled the trophic status, ranging from 6.1 to 173.0 g kg−;1 (dry weight), with the mean value of 63.1 g kg−1 (dry weight). It was positively proportional to soluble reactive phosphorus concentration in the interstitial water in a form of exponential function, but inversely related to the sediment Fe/P ratio. The sediment alkaline phosphatase activity was significantly related not only to the organic matter content (r = 0.829, P < 0.01, n = 120), but also to the soluble reactive phosphorus concentration in interstitial water (r = 0.454, P < 0.01, n = 42). In the laboratory experiment, the addition of organic matter (dry materials of an aquatic macrophyte) into the sediment significantly enhanced alkaline phosphatase activity and soluble reactive phosphorus release. However, in the treatment with organic matter added and aeration, this release was generally prevented in spite of an increase in APA. Hence, sediment organic matter can effectively accelerate phosphorus release by enzymatic hydrolysis and anaerobic desorption. The latter mechanism seems to be more important.


organic matteralkaline phosphatasephosphorus releasesedimentanaerobic conditionshallow lakeseutrophication