Amino acids as indicators of seasonal variations in organic matter degradation in surface sediments from a shallow lake

Baoqing Shan , Yan Wen , Wenqiang Zhang


Received August 23, 2022,Revised , Accepted October 26, 2022, Available online November 06, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 1-10

Degradation of organic matter (OM) in sediments is a key link in nutrient cycling and sedimentation processes in lakes. The aim of this study was to explore the degradation of OM in surface sediments of a shallow lake (Baiyangdian Lake, China) under seasonal temperature variations. For this, we used the amino acid-based degradation index (DI) and the spatiotemporal distribution characteristics and sources of OM. Sediment OM in the lake mainly originated from freshwater aquatic plants and terrestrial C4 plants. The sediment at some sampling sites was affected by surrounding crops. The organic carbon and total nitrogen contents, and the total hydrolyzed amino acid concentrations in the sediments were highest in summer and lowest in winter. The lowest DI occurred in spring, which indicated that the OM in the surface sediment at this time was highly degraded and relatively stable, and the highest DI occurred in winter, which showed that the sediment was fresh. The water temperature was positively correlated with the organic carbon content (p < 0.01) and total hydrolyzed amino acids concentration (p < 0.05). Seasonal variations in the overlying water temperature had a large effect on OM degradation in the lake sediments. Our results will facilitate the management and restoration of lake sediments that suffer from endogenous release of OM in a warming climate.

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