Spatial and temporal distribution characteristics of different forms of inorganic nitrogen in three types of rivers around Lake Taihu, China

  • Yongxia GaoEmail author
  • Jianghua Yu
  • Yuzhi Song
  • Guangwei Zhu
  • Hans W. Paerl
  • Boqiang Qin
Research Article


In order to control nitrogen (N) pollution of Lake Taihu, China, we studied the spatial and temporal distribution characteristics of inorganic N in inflowing rivers polluted by industry, agriculture, and domestic sewage during low, moderate, and high flow periods. The results showed that dissolved total nitrogen (DTN) was the main fraction of total nitrogen (TN) input from these rivers. Inflowing rivers had distinct impacts on TN, DTN, ammonium N (NH4+), and nitrate N (NO3) concentrations of Lake Taihu during the low flow period. Particulate nitrogen (PN) had an impact on Lake Taihu during the three flow periods and all the three types of rivers would increase PN concentration in the lake. Rivers polluted by agriculture had the greatest impact on Lake Taihu’s TN, DTN, NO3, and dissolved inorganic N (DIN) concentrations, while rivers polluted by industry had the greatest impact on NH4+ concentration. Therefore, agriculture and industry should be key targets for nutrient reductions. The in-lake N concentrations were higher than those of inflowing rivers during moderate and high flow periods.


Inorganic nitrogen Inflowing rivers Industry Agriculture Domestic sewage Eutrophication Lake Taihu 


Funding information

This study was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant numbers 41671494, 41621002, 41790423, 41471446, and 41661134036), Jiangsu Overseas Research & Training Program for University Prominent Young & Middle-aged Teachers and Presidents, and the US National Science Foundation (Projects 1230543 and 1240851).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control, School of Environmental Science and EngineeringNanjing University of Information Science & TechnologyNanjingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and EnvironmentNanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Chinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  3. 3.Institute of Marine SciencesUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillMorehead CityUSA

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