The Use of Enzyme Hydrolysis to Assess the Seasonal Mobility and Bioavailability of Organic Phosphorus in Lake Sediments

TitleThe Use of Enzyme Hydrolysis to Assess the Seasonal Mobility and Bioavailability of Organic Phosphorus in Lake Sediments
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2013
AuthorsGiles, CD, Lee, LG, Cade-Menun, BJ, Rutila, BC, Schroth, AW, Xu, Y, Hill, JE, Druschel, G
Conference NameAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013
Date Published12/2013
Conference LocationSan Francisco, CA

Lake sediments represent a significant internal source of phosphorus (P) in eutrophic freshwater systems during periods of high biological activity and oxygen depletion in sediments. Enzyme-labile and redox-sensitive P fractions may be a major component of the mobile sediment P pool which contributes to the development of harmful algal blooms. We present a high-through-put enzyme-based method for assessing potentially bioavailable (enzyme-labile) P in lake sediments and describe the relationship between enzyme-labile P, ascorbate-extractable (reactive) P and metals (Fe, Mn, Al, Ca), and P species identified using solution 31-P NMR spectroscopy. Sediment cores (0-10 cm) were collected from Lake Champlain over multiple years (Missisquoi Bay, VT, USA; 2007-2013). A principal components analysis of sediment properties suggests that enzyme-labile and reactive P, Mn, and Fe concentrations were more effective than the 31-P NMR methodology alone for differentiating algal bloom stage associated with periods of sediment anoxia. Bloom onset (July 2008) and peak bloom (August 2008, 2012) periods corresponded to the highest enzyme-labile P and lowest reactive P and metals proportions, despite 31-P NMR profiles which did not change significantly with respect to time and depth. High levels of reduced Fe and Mn ions were also detected in pore-water during this period, confirming previous reports that organic P bioavailability is linked to the redox status of sediments. High through-put analysis of enzyme-labile P fractions will provide spatially and temporally resolved information on bioavailable P pools at lower cost than traditional methods (i.e., 31-P NMR), and provide much-needed detail on aquatic P cycles during discrete stages of algal bloom development and sediment anoxia.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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