Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 10740–10751 | Cite as

Combined Fe/P and Fe/S ratios as a practicable index for estimating the release potential of internal-P in freshwater sediment

  • Jingfu Wang
  • Jingan Chen
  • Jianyang Guo
  • Qingqing Sun
  • Haiquan Yang
Research Article


Release of phosphorus (P) from sediment is a major source of P in many freshwater lakes. Currently, assessing the ability of sediment to release P, which is valuable to the management of water eutrophication, remains a challenge. Thus, the purpose of this study was to find effective indexes for predicting the release potential of internal-P. In this study, high-resolution diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) and conventional sequential extraction were used to characterize the distribution and speciation of P, iron (Fe), and sulfur (S) in the surface sediment of a mildly eutrophic reservoir in southwestern China. Sediment samples exhibited large variations in Fe, S, and P, thereby providing favorable conditions for investigating the effects of Fe and S on sediment P mobilization. In contrast to traditional knowledge, our results show that total P (TP) and redox-sensitive P(BD-P) are poorly correlated with releasable P(DGT-P). This implies that high levels of sedimentary TP and BD-P do not necessarily result in an elevated release of internal-P under anaerobic conditions. Sedimentary P release was greatly suppressed at ratios of Fe/P > 30 and Fe/S > 6. Significant positive correlations between DGT-P and DGT-Fe or DGT-S suggest that Fe and S play an important role in governing the mobility of sedimentary P. These results support the combined Fe/P and Fe/S ratios as an effective and practicable index for assessing the ability of sediment to release P. Thus, our study provides a new and simple method for assessing sedimentary P pollution in freshwater ecosystems.


Phosphorus Fe/P Fe/S Release potential DGT Sediment 



This work was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Project by MOST of China (No. 2016YFA0601000), the Chinese NSF project (No. 41403113), and the Science and Technology Project of Guizhou Province ([2015]2001).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_1373_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jingfu Wang
    • 1
  • Jingan Chen
    • 1
  • Jianyang Guo
    • 1
  • Qingqing Sun
    • 1
    • 2
  • Haiquan Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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