Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 31, pp 31603–31615 | Cite as

Different pathways of nitrogen and phosphorus regeneration mediated by extracellular enzymes in temperate lakes under various trophic state

  • Chunlei Song
  • Xiuyun Cao
  • Yiyong Zhou
  • Maurizio Azzaro
  • Luis Salvador Monticelli
  • Marcella Leonardi
  • Rosabruna La Ferla
  • Gabriella CarusoEmail author
Research Article


Several Italian and Chinese temperate lakes with soluble reactive phosphorus concentrations < 0.015 mg L−1 were studied to estimate nitrogen and phosphorus regeneration mediated by microbial decomposition and possible different mechanisms driven by prevailing oligo- or eutrophic conditions. Leucine aminopeptidase (LAP), beta-glucosidase (GLU) and alkaline phosphatase (AP), algal, and bacterial biomass were related to trophic and environmental variables. In the eutrophic lakes, high algal and particulate organic carbon concentrations stimulated bacterial respiration (> 20 μg C L−1 h−1) and could favor the release of inorganic phosphorus. High extracellular enzyme activities and phosphorus solubilizing bacteria abundance in sediments accelerated nutrient regeneration. In these conditions, the positive GLU-AP relationship suggested the coupling of carbon and phosphorus regeneration; an efficient phosphorus regeneration and high nitrogen levels (up to 0.067 and 0.059 mg L−1 NH4 and NO3 in Italy; 0.631 and 1.496 mg L−1 NH4 and NO3 in China) led to chlorophyll a peaks of 14.9 and 258.4 μg L−1 in Italy and China, respectively, and a typical algal composition. Conversely, in the oligo-mesotrophic lakes, very low nitrogen levels (in Italy, 0.001 and 0.005 mg L−1 NH4 and NO3, respectively, versus 0.053 and 0.371 mg L−1 in China) induced high LAP, while low phosphorus (33.6 and 46.3 μg L−1 total P in Italy and China, respectively) led to high AP. In these lakes, nitrogen and phosphorus regeneration were coupled, as shown by positive LAP-AP relationship; however, the nutrient demand could not be completely met without the supply from sediments, due to low enzymatic activity and phosphorus solubilizing bacteria found in this compartment.


Nutrient regeneration Extracellular enzyme activity Phosphorus solubilizing bacteria Bacterial respiration Phytoplankton Lakes Trophic status 



The Authors thank Mrs. Giovanna Maimone (CNR-IAMC Messina) for her technical support in bacterial abundance and biomass estimations.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41230748; 41573110; 41263006), and State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology (2016FBZ07) as well as the CNR-CAS 2008-2010 Joint Project “Understanding expression and regulation of microbial enzymes involved in organic matter decomposition (Carbon and Phosphorus cycles) and the interrelationship between alkaline phosphatase and eutrophication in Italian and Chinese water bodies at different trophic levels” under grant number 0038575 (May 19, 2008) CNR Direzione Generale Ufficio Paesi Emergenti ed. in Transizione.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3144_MOESM1_ESM.doc (70 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 70 kb)
11356_2018_3144_MOESM2_ESM.doc (80 kb)
ESM 2 (DOC 80 kb)
11356_2018_3144_MOESM3_ESM.doc (76 kb)
ESM 3 (DOC 76 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Algal Biology, State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of HydrobiologyThe Chinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.Institute for Coastal Marine Environment (IAMC-CNR)Italian National Research CouncilMessinaItaly

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