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Comparison of phosphorus fraction distribution and influencing factors of suspended and surface sediments in the Tiaoxi watershed, China

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Suspended and surface sediments from the Tiaoxi watershed, fed by the Xitiaoxi and Dongtiaoxi rivers, were analyzed for total phosphorus (TP) and the inorganic P fractions of loosely adsorbed P that were extractable with NH4Cl (NH4Cl-P), reductant P (BD-P), metal oxide-bound P extractable with NaOH (NaOH-P), and calcium-bound, HCl-extractable P (HCl-P), while other physicochemical compositions were also determined. The spatial variations of P fractions in these sediments were investigated, and the major factors influencing the various fractions were explored by multivariate statistics. Compared to surface sediments, suspended sediments contained considerably higher concentrations of total nitrogen, TP, organic matter, Al, Fe, Mn and biologically available P (BAP, given as NH4Cl-P, BD-P and NaOH-P combined) and lower concentrations of Si, Ca and HCl-P in the studied catchments. Dongtiaoxi sediments had higher TP, inorganic phosphorus and HCl-P concentrations and a lower BAP content compared with Xitiaoxi sediments, trends that were associated with local geological backgrounds, landscapes and anthropogenic characteristics. The results of principal component analysis showed different effects of sediment properties on P fraction distributions for Xitiaoxi and Dongtiaoxi sediments. The sediment components and structure exert a strong influence on BAP in Xitiaoxi sediments, in contrast to Dongtiaoxi sediments, where P fractions are mainly affected by urbanization and other anthropogenic activities such as shipping.

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