, Volume 610, Issue 1, pp 211–222 | Cite as

Influence of suspended clay on phosphorus uptake by periphyton

  • J. E. WolfeIII
  • O. T. Lind
Primary research paper


We investigated the effect of suspended clay upon the phosphorus uptake rate exhibited by lotic periphyton communities. Suspended inorganic clays and periphyton are common to aquatic environments, and both can strongly influence physical and chemical water conditions. We used replicated artificial stream channels to test the prediction that suspended clay particles would affect the uptake of soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) by periphyton. Commercially available kaolinite and bentonite clays were characterized for their aqueous suspension behavior and affinities for SRP. Periphyton was grown in a recirculating stream system and subjected to simultaneous suspended clay and SRP additions. SRP removal from solution, both in the presence and absence of suspended clays, was used to quantify SRP uptake parameters by periphyton. Clay type and concentrations of 20, 80, and 200 mg l−1 had no significant effect upon SRP uptake rate exhibited by periphyton during three 90-min experiments. Less than 1% of SRP removal was attributable to the suspended clay load or artificial stream construction materials, based on clay isotherm data and material sorption studies, indicating that 99% of SRP removal was attributable to biotic uptake. Removal of SRP (as KH2PO4) was described by a first-order equation with rate constants ranging between 0.02 and 0.14 min−1. Our results suggest that high turbidity conditions caused by suspended mineral clays have little immediate effect upon SRP removal from the water column by periphyton.


Artificial stream Clay Phosphorus uptake Periphyton 



This work has been graciously supported through grants, time, expertise, and/or facilities of the Texas AgriLife Research/Blackland Research and Extension Center, Texas Water Resource Institute, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Baylor University. The authors gratefully acknowledge the valuable contributions of time and comments given by Allen Torbert, Ken Potter, Arthur Stewart, Armen Kemanian, and several anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Blackland Research and Extension CenterTexas AgriLife ResearchTempleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

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