Ultraviolet humic-like component contributes to riverine dissolved organic matter biodegradation


Siyue Li , Maofei Ni

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2021.10.011

Received August 12, 2021,Revised , Accepted October 11, 2021, Available online February 02, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 165-175

Biological degradation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) regulates its structure and fate in river ecosystems. Previous views suggested that labile components were dominantly consumed by microbial metabolism. Here we provide new observations that a part of recalcitrant compounds largely contribute to riverine DOM biodegradation. The excitation-emission matrix fluorescent spectroscopy combined with peak picking and parallel factor analysis are used to explore component variability during DOM incubation. Humic-like and tryptophan-like DOM are the primary components of riverine DOM, with proportion contributions of 39%–82% and 16%–61% for % of the maximum fluorescence intensity, respectively. After 56 days of aerobic incubation in the dark, large amounts of tyrosine-like DOM generation are observed. Elevated temperature enhances the decomposition of ultraviolet humic-like substance and further stimulates labile DOM bio-mineralization into carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, averaged proportions of amino acid compositions (peak B and T) markedly increase (p < 0.05) as the humic-like compositions (peak A, M and C) decrease after DOM incubation, suggesting incomplete degradation of refractory DOM from high-molecular to low-molecular weight compounds. The findings support the new notion of the continuous DOM biodegradation in a mode as “steps by steps”, contributing to a new understanding of carbon cycling for the UN Sustainable Development Goal.

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