In situ, high-resolution evidence for iron-coupled mobilization of phosphorus in sediments
Li, Yang Yang
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Ding, Shiming; Wang, Yan; Wang, Dan; Li, Yang Yang; Gong, Mengdan; Zhang, Chaosheng (2016). In situ, high-resolution evidence for iron-coupled mobilization of phosphorus in sediments. Scientific Reports 6 ,
Reductive dissolution of phosphorus-bearing iron (Fe) (oxyhydr)oxides has been regarded as a primary mechanism responsible for the mobilization of phosphorus (P) in sediments for over 70 years. However, to date there is little in situ evidence to support this hypothesis. In this study, a total of 16 sites in the large eutrophic Lake Taihu were selected for investigation. Newly-developed diffusive gradients in thin films (ZrO-Chelex DGT) probes were deployed to simultaneously measure labile Fe and P mainly released from sediment solids at millimeter spatial resolution. Significantly positive correlations were observed between DGT-labile Fe and P at 14 sites, implying a release of P following reductive dissolution of Fe (oxyhydr) oxides. A coincident resupply of Fe(II) and P was observed from sediment solids to buffer their releases from DGT perturbance, further verifying the mechanism of Fe-coupled mobilization of P. The ratio of DGT-labile Fe/P was found to be positively correlated with the ratio of easily reducible (oxyhydr)oxide Fe to its associated P, indicating that this solid phase should retain P prior to its release. The results provide direct evidence for the coupling between Fe and P in sediments and further identify the easily reducible Fe (oxyhydr)oxide species involved in the coupling process.