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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 2, p. 668-674
    Received: Apr 21, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): krr@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu
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Hydrologic Influence on Stability of Organic Phosphorus in Wetland Detritus

  1. H.K. Pant and
  2. K.R. Reddy *
  1. Univ. of Florida, Wetland Biogeochemistry Lab., Soil and Water Science Dep., Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, 106 Newell Hall, P.O. Box 110510, Gainesville, FL 32611-0510


Accretion of organic matter in wetlands provides long-term storage for nutrients and other contaminants. Water-table fluctuations and resulting alternate flooded and drained conditions may substantially alter the stability of stored materials including phosphorus (P). To study the effects of hydrologic fluctuation on P mobilization in wetlands, recently accreted detrial material (derived primarily from Typha spp.) was collected from the Everglades Nutrient Removal Project (ENRP), a constructed wetland used to treat agricultural drainage water in the northern Everglades. The detrital material was subjected to different periods of drawdown and consecutive reflooding under laboratory conditions. The 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (31P NMR) spectroscopy analysis revealed that sugar phosphate, glycerophosphate, polynucleotides, and phospholipids (glycerophosphoethanolamine and glycerophosphocholine) were the major forms of P in the detrital material. After 30 d of drawdown, polynucleotides were reduced to trace levels, whereas sugar phosphate, glycerophosphate, and phospholipids remained the major fractions of organic P. Microorganisms seemed to preferentially utilize nucleic acid P, perhaps to obtain associated nutrients including carbon and nitrogen. At the end of the 30-d reflooding period, cumulative P flux from detritus to water column accounted for 3% of the total P (≤15 d of drawdown) and further decreased to 2% at 30 d of drawdown, but increased to 8% at 60 d of drawdown. The drawdown (≤30 d) not only reduced P flux to the water column, but also increased the humification and microbial immobilization of P. Excessive drawdown (60 d), however, triggered the release of P into the water column as the water content of detritus decreased from 95 to 11%.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.30:668–674.