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[Publication]: Seasonal iron-sulfur interactions and the stimulated phosphorus mobilization in freshwater lake sediments

Associate Prof. Yanping Zhao published a research paper in Science of The Total Environment (2020: 144336)

Sulfur reduction in freshwater ecosystems has previously been considered as negligible because of often very low sulfate concentrations and generally low sulfate reducing capacity in freshwater sediments. In this study, seasonal variations on three types of sediments from central lake, dredged and algae accumulated areas in a eutrophic lake in China, Lake Taihu, were investigated. The high temperature in summer and the accumulation of algae are conducive to the reduction processes in freshwater lake sediments. Iron reduction was observed as the major anaerobic process in all types of sediments, while sulfate reduction was weak in central and dredged lake areas. However, strong sulfate reduction with increase of sulfate reducing bacteria and sulfides generation (119.5 ± 0.2 μmol L-1) was found in surface sediments in algae accumulated areas. Based on the results of Fe reduction rate and the quantity of Fe reducing bacteria, extensive sulfate reduction in algae accumulated sediments inhibited the microbial Fe reduction, and the ΣS2--mediated chemical Fe reduction (SCIR) dominated instead. Iron was principally stored in the sediments as Fe sulfide compounds, which weakened the rebinding of phosphorus and stimulated phosphorus mobilization. Therefore, attention should be paid to the alteration of Fe cycling and phosphorus mobility caused by the SCIR in algae accumulated sediments and the consequent effects on the eutrophication of freshwater lakes.