Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 4027–4040 | Cite as

Unraveling the sources and fluorescence compositions of dissolved and particulate organic matter (DOM and POM) in Lake Taihu, China

  • Lü Weiwei
  • Yao XinEmail author
  • Shao Keqiang
  • Zhang Baohua
  • Gao Guang
Research Article


Organic matter (OM), a complex entity with diverse functional groups and molecular sizes, has important effects on aquatic systems. We studied the optical compositions and sources of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and particulate organic matter (POM) in Lake Taihu, a large, shallow and eutrophic lake in China. Significant differences in optical compositions and sources occurred between the POM and DOM. The temporal–spatial distribution of the fluorescence indices suggested that the POM in Lake Taihu was mainly from autochthonous sources, but more exogenous characteristics were shown in POM in the river mouths compared with other regions. The chromophoric DOM in Lake Taihu mainly displayed autochthonous characteristics. The POM–DOM PARAFAC model was used to examine OM optical composition and five components were identified, which contained three protein-like components (C1, C2, and C5), a microbial humic-like component (C3), and a terrestrial humic-like component (C4). The POM was dominated by C5 in summer and autumn and C3 in winter and spring, and the DOM was dominated by protein-like components (C1, C2, and C5) through the entire year. The algae-dominated region had a relative higher contribution of tryptophan-like components of POM compared with the macrophyte-dominated region. A conceptual model based on the theory of “four phases of cyanobacteria bloom development” was proposed to fully describe the relationship between POM–DOM exchanges and cyanobacteria bloom development.


Dissolved organic matter (DOM) Particulate organic matter (POM) Eutrophication Lake Taihu Fluorescence compositions POM–DOM PARAFAC model 



We thank the staff of the Taihu Laboratory for Lake Ecosystem Research for helping with sample collection. We especially thank Dr. Sarah Poynton of Johns Hopkins University for her useful comments and linguistic improvements.

Funding information

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41501101, 41301544), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, China (No. BK20151059), the Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (No. 2017ZX07203-004), and the State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment (No. 2018SKL004).


  1. Azam F, Malfatti F (2007) Microbial structuring of marine ecosystems. Nat Rev Microbiol 5:782–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Birdwell JE, Engel AS (2010) Characterization of dissolved organic matter in cave and spring waters using UV-Vis absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy. Org Geochem 41:270–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cifuentes LA, Sharp JH, Fogel ML (1988) Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope biogeochemistry in the Delaware estuary. Limnol Oceanogr 33(5):1102–1115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Conmy RN, Coble PG, Cannizzaro JP, Heil CA (2015) Influence of extreme storm events on West Florida Shelf CDOM distributions. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 114(G4):G00F04Google Scholar
  5. Cory RM, McKnight DM (2005) Fluorescence spectroscopy reveals ubiquitous presence of oxidized and reduced quinones in dissolved organic matter. Environ Sci Technol 39:8142–8149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Del Giorgio PA, Duarte CM (2002) Respiration in the open ocean. Nature 420:379–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Druon JN, Mannino A, Signorini S, McClain C, Friedrichs M, Wilkin J, Fennel K (2010) Modeling the dynamics and export of dissolved organic matter in the northeastern US continental shelf. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 88:488–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Engel A, Thoms S, Riebesell U, Rochelle-Newall E, Zondervan I (2004) Polysaccharide aggregation as a potential sink of marine dissolved organic carbon. Nature 428:929–932CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eriksson J, Frankki S, Shchukarev A, Shyllberg U (2004) Binding of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene, aniline, and nitrobenzene to dissolved and particulate soil organic matter. Environ Sci Technol 38(11):3074–3080CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Giani M, Savelli F, Berto D, Zangrando V, Cosovic B, Vojvodic V (2005) Temporal dynamics of dissolved and particulate organic carbon in the northern Adriatic Sea in relation to the mucilage events. Sci Total Environ 353:126–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. He D, Zhang YM, Yang F (2016a) The transformation of the nutrient in the degradation process of the phytoplankton-derived particulate organic matter and its ecological effect. China Environ Sci 36(3):899–907 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  12. He W, Chen ML, Schlautman MA, Hur J (2016b) Dynamic exchanges between DOM and POM pools in coastal and inland aquatic ecosystems: a review. Sci Total Environ 551-552:415–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hopkinson CS, Vallino JJ (2005) Efficient export of carbon to the deep ocean through dissolved organic matter. Nature 433:142–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Huguet A, Vacher L, Relexans S, Saubusse S, Froidefond JM, Parlanti E (2009) Properties of fluorescent dissolved organic matter in the Gironde Estuary. Org Geochem 40:706–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jiang JW, Li SD, Shen YY, Wu YL, Huang CC, Huang T, Jiang S (2017) Spatial differences of optical properties of CDOM and their sources apportionment in Taihu Lake in summer. Res Environ Sci 30(7):1020–1030 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  16. Jin XC, Tu QY (1990) Specification for eutrophication investigation of lakes. China Environmental Science Press, Beijing (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  17. Karmer GD, Herndl GJ (2004) Photo- and bioreactivity of chromophoric dissolved organic matter produced by marine bacterioplankton. Aquat Microb Ecol 36(3):239–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kong FX, Ma RH, Gao JF, Wu XD (2009) The theory and practice of prevention, forecast and warning on cyanobacteria bloom in Lake Taihu. J Lake Sci 21(3):314–328 (in Chinese) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kowalczuk P, Cooper WJ, Durako MJ, Kahn AE, Gonsior M (2010) Characterization of dissolved organic matter fluorescence in the South Atlantic Bight with use of PARAFAC model: relationships between fluorescence and its components, absorption coefficients and organic carbon concentrations. Mar Chem 118:22–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lapierre JF, Frenette JJ (2009) Effects of macrophytes and terrestrial inputs on fluorescent dissolved organic matter in a large river system. Aquat Sci 71:15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Larsen L, Harvey J, Skalak K, Goodman M (2015) Fluorescence-based source tracking of organic sediment in restored and unrestored urban streams. Limnol Oceanogr 60(4):1439–1461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liebig J (1842) Chemistry in its application to agriculture and physiology. Johnson Reprint Corporation, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Lü SG, Wang XC, Han BP (2009) A field study on the conversion ratio of phytoplankton biomass carbon to chlorophyll—a in Jiaozhou Bay, China. Chin J Oceanol Limnol 27(4):793–805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ma JR, Qin BQ, Wu P, Zhou J, Niu C, Deng JM, Niu HL (2015) Controlling cyanobacterial blooms by managing nutrient ratio and limitation in a large hyper-eutrophic lake: Lake Taihu, China. J Environ Sci 27:80–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Margot S, Toomas K, Peeter N, Tiina N (2018) Do organic matter metrics included in lake surveillance monitoring in Europe provide a broad picture of brownification and enrichment with oxygen consuming substances? Sci Total Environ 610-611:1288–1297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mayer LM, Schick LL, Hardy KR, Estapa ML (2009) Photo dissolution and other photochemical changes upon irradiation of algal detritus. Limnol Oceanogr 54:1688–1698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mayer LM, Thornton KH, Schick LL (2011) Bioavailability of organic matter photo dissolved from coastal sediments. Aquat Microb Ecol 64(3):275–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mayorga E, Aufdenkampe AK, Masiello CA, Krusche AV, Hedges JI, Quay PD, Richey JE, Brown TA (2005) Young organic matter as a source of carbon dioxide outgassing from Amazonian rivers. Nature 436:538–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McCallister SL, Bauer JE, Ducklow HW, Canuel EA (2006) Sources of estuarine dissolved and particulate organic matter: a multi-tracer approach. Org Geochem 37:454–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mecozzi M, Pietrantonio E, Di Noto V, Papai Z (2005) The humic structure of mucilage aggregates in the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas: hypothesis about the reasonable causes of mucilage formation. Mar Chem 95:255–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Miller C, Gordon KG, Kieber RJ, Willey JD, Seaton PJ (2009) Chemical characteristics of chromophoric dissolved organic matter in rainwater. Atmos Environ 43:2497–2502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Murphy KR, Stedmon CA, Waite TD, Ruiz GM (2008) Distinguishing between terrestrial and autochthonous organic matter sources in marine environments using fluorescence spectroscopy. Mar Chem 108:40–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Murphy KR, Stedmon CA, Wenig P, Bro R (2014) OpenFluor-an online spectral library of auto-fluorescence by organic compounds in the environment. Anal Methods 6:658–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nieto-Cid M, Alvarez-Salgado XA, Perez FF (2006) Microbial and photochemical reactivity of fluorescent dissolved organic matter in a coastal upwelling system. Limnol Oceanogr 51:1391–1400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ohno T (2002) Fluorescence inner-filtering correction for determining the humification index of dissolved organic matter. Environ Sci Technol 36(4):742–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Osburn CL, Handsel LT, Mikan MP, Paerl HW, Montgomery MT (2012) Fluorescence tracking of dissolved and particulate organic matter quality in a river-dominated estuary. Environ Sci Technol 46:8628–8636CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Osburn CL, Mikan MP, Etheridge JR, Burchell MR, Birgand F (2015) Seasonal variation in the quality of dissolved and particulate organic matter exchanged between a salt marsh and its adjacent estuary. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 120(7):1430–1449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pace DA, Manahan DT (2007) Efficiencies and costs of larval growth in different food environments. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 353(1):89–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Parsons TR, Takahashi M, Hargrave B (1977) Biological oceanographic processes, 2nd edn. Pergamon Press, New York, p 332Google Scholar
  40. Qin BQ, Xu P, Wu Q, Luo L, Zhang YL (2007) Environmental issues of Lake Taihu, China. Hydrobiologia 581:3–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Romera-Castillo C, Sarmento H, Alvarez-Salgado XA, Gasol JM, Marrase C (2011) Net production and consumption of fluorescent colored dissolved organic matter by natural bacterial assemblages growing on marine phytoplankton exudates. Appl Environ Microbiol 77:7490–7498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Roulet N, Moore TR (2006) Environmental chemistry: browning the waters. Nature 444:283–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Shank GC, Evans A, Yamashita Y, Jaffe R (2011) Solar radiation enhanced dissolution of particulate organic matter from coastal marine sediments. Limnol Oceanogr 56(2):577–588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Simon M, Grossart H, Schweitzer B, Ploug H (2002) Microbial ecology of organic aggregates in aquatic ecosystems. Aquat Microb Ecol 28:172–211Google Scholar
  45. Smith VH (2006) Responses of estuarine and coastal marine phytoplankton to nitrogen and phosphorus enrichment. Limnol Oceanogr 51(1):377–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Spencer RGM, Aiken GR, Butler KD, Dornblaser MM, Striegl RG, Hernes PJ (2009) Utilizing chromophoric dissolved organic matter measurements to derive export and reactivity of dissolved organic carbon exported to the Arctic Ocean: a case study of the Yukou River, Alaska. Geophys Res Lett 36(6):141–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stedmon CA, Markager S (2005a) Tracing the production and degradation of autochthonous fractions of dissolved organic matter by fluorescence analysis. Limnol Oceanogr 50:1415–1426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stedmon CA, Markager S (2005b) Resolving the variability in dissolved organic matter fluorescence in a temperate estuary and its catchment using PARAFAC analysis. Limnol Oceanogr 50:686–697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Steinberg DK, Nelson NB, Carlson CA, Prusak AC (2004) Production of chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in the open ocean by zooplankton and the colonial cyanobacterium Trichodesmium spp. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 267:45–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Turner JT (2002) Zooplankton fecal pellets, marine snow and sinking phytoplankton blooms. Aquat Microb Ecol 27:57–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Verburg P, Horrox J, Chaney E, Rutherford J, Quinn J, Wilcock R (2013) Nutrient ratios, differential retention, and the effect on nutrient limitation in a deep oligotrophic lake. Hydrobiologia 718(1):119–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Verdugo P, Allderdge AL, Azam F, Kirchman DL, Passow U, Santschi PH (2004) The oceanic gel phase: a bridge in the DOM-POM continuum. Mar Chem 92:67–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wang GS, Post WM, Mayes MA (2013) Development of microbial-enzyme-mediated decomposition model parameters through steady-state and dynamic analyses. Ecol Appl 23:255–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wang SH, Wang WW, Jiang X, Zhao L, Zhang B (2016) Distribution of chromophoric dissolved organic matter in Lihu Lake using excitation-emission matrix fluorescence and parallel factor analysis. China Environ Sci 36(2):517–524 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  55. Williams CJ, Yamashita Y, Wilson HF (2010) Unraveling the role of land use and microbial activity in shaping dissolved organic matter characteristics in stream ecosystems. Limnol Oceanogr 55:1159–1171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wu FC, Jin XC, Zhang RY, Liao HQ, Wang SR, Jiang X, Wang LY, Guo JY, Li W, Zhao XL (2010) Effects and significance of organic nitrogen and phosphorous in the lake aquatic environment. J Lake Sci 22(1):1–7 (in Chinese) CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Xu H, Paerl HW, Qin BQ, Zhu GW, Gao G (2010) Nitrogen and phosphorus inputs control phytoplankton growth in eutrophic Lake Taihu, China. Limnol Oceanogr 55(1):420–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Yamashita Y, Jaffe R, Maie N, Tanoue E (2008) Assessing the dynamics of dissolved organic matter in coastal environments by excitations emission matrix fluorescence and parallel factor analysis. Limnol Oceanogr 53:1900–1908CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yang XF, Li ZQ, Meng FG, Wang ZG, Sun L (2014) Photochemical alteration of biogenic particles in wastewater effluents. Chinese Sci Bull 59(28):3659–3668CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Yao X, Zhang YL, Zhu GW, Qin BQ, Feng LQ, Cai LL, Gao G (2011) Resolving the variability of CDOM fluorescence to differentiate the sources and fate of DOM in Lake Taihu and its tributaries. Chemosphere 82:145–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Yao X, Zhang YL, Zhu GW, Qin BQ (2014) Different degradation mechanism of dissolved organic matter derived from phytoplankton and macrophytes in Lake Taihu, China. Acta Sci Circumst 34(3):688–694 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  62. Ye LL, Wu XD, Yan DZ, Liu B (2017) Seasonal dynamics of particulate organic carbon concentration in surface water and its source in the northwest of Lake Taihu. Acta Sci Circumst 37(4):1323–1329 (in Chinese) Google Scholar
  63. Yu HB, Song YH, Du E, Yang N (2016) Comparison of PARAFAC components of fluorescent dissolved and particular organic matter from two urbanized rivers. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23(11):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zeng QF, Kong FX, Zhang EL, Tan X (2007) Effects of anthropogenic organic matter inputs on carbon and nitrogen isotopes in organisms from microbial food chain in Taihu Lake. Environ Sci 28(8):1670–1674Google Scholar
  65. Zhang YL, van Dijk MA, Liu ML, Zhu GW, Qin BQ (2009) The contribution of phytoplankton degradation to chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in eutrophic shallow lakes: field and experimental evidence. Water Res 43:4685–4697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zhang YL, Zhang EL, Yin Y, van Dijk MA, Feng LQ, Shi ZQ, Liu ML, Qin BQ (2010) Characteristics and sources of chromophoric dissolved organic matter in lakes of the Yungui Plateau, China, differing in trophic state and altitude. Limnol Oceanogr 55:2645–2659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Zhang YL, Yin Y, Liu XH, Shi ZQ, Feng LQ, Liu ML, Zhu GW, Gong ZJ, Qin BQ (2011) Spatial-seasonal dynamics of chromophoric dissolved organic matter in Lake Taihu, a large eutrophic, shallow lake in China. Org Geochem 42:510–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zhang YL, Liu XH, Wang MZ, Qin BQ (2013) Compositional differences of chromophoric dissolved organic matter derived from phytoplankton and macrophytes. Org Geochem 55:26–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zhang YL, Shi K, Zhou YQ, Liu XH, Qin BQ (2016) Monitoring the river plume induced by heavy rainfall events in large, shallow, Lake Taihu using MODIS 250 m imagery. Remote Sens Environ 173:109–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zhou YQ, Jeppesen E, Zhang YL, Niu C, Shi K, Liu X (2015a) Chromophoric dissolved organic matter of black waters in a highly eutrophic Chinese lake: freshly produced from algal scums? J Hazard Mater 299:222–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zhou YQ, Zhang YL, Shi K, Niu C, Liu XH, Duan HT (2015b) Lake Taihu, a large, shallow and eutrophic aquatic ecosystem in China serves as a sink for chromophoric dissolved organic matter. J Great Lakes Res 41:597–606CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zhou YQ, Zhou J, Jeppesen E, Zhang YL, Qin BQ, Shi K, Tang XM, Han XX (2016) Will enhanced turbulence in inland waters result in elevated production of autochthonous dissolved organic matter? Sci Total Environ 543:405–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zhu M, Zhu G, Zhao L, Yao X, Zhang Y, Gao G (2013) Influence of algal bloom degradation on nutrient release at the sediment-water interface in Lake Taihu, China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20(3):1803–1811CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lü Weiwei
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yao Xin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Shao Keqiang
    • 2
  • Zhang Baohua
    • 1
  • Gao Guang
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environment and PlanningLiaocheng UniversityLiaochengChina
  2. 2.Taihu Laboratory for Lake Ecosystem Research, State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and LimnologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

Personalised recommendations