The capability of estuarine sediments to remove nitrogen: implications for drinking water resource in Yangtze Estuary

Lin Liu, Dongqi Wang, Huanguang Deng, Yangjie Li, Siqi Chang, Zhanlei Wu, Lin Yu, Yujie Hu, Zhongjie Yu, Zhenlou Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Water in the Yangtze Estuary is fresh most of the year because of the large discharge of Yangtze River. The Qingcaosha Reservoir built on the Changxing Island in the Yangtze Estuary is an estuarine reservoir for drinking water. Denitrification rate in the top 10 cm sediment of the intertidal marshes and bare mudflat of Yangtze Estuarine islands was measured by the acetylene inhibition method. Annual denitrification rate in the top 10 cm of sediment was 23.1 μmol m−2 h−1 in marshes (ranged from 7.5 to 42.1 μmol m−2 h−1) and 15.1 μmol m−2 h−1 at the mudflat (ranged from 6.6 to 26.5 μmol m−2 h−1). Annual average denitrification rate is higher at mashes than at mudflat, but without a significant difference (p = 0.084, paired t test.). Taking into account the vegetation and water area of the reservoir, a total 1.42 × 108 g N could be converted into nitrogen gas (N2) annually by the sediment, which is 97.7 % of the dissolved inorganic nitrogen input through precipitation. Denitrification in reservoir sediment can control the bioavailable nitrogen level of the water body. At the Yangtze estuary, denitrification primarily took place in the top 4 cm of sediment, and there was no significant spatial or temporal variation of denitrification during the year at the marshes and mudflat, which led to no single factor determining the denitrification process but the combined effects of the environmental factors, hydrologic condition, and wetland vegetation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10890-10899
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Denitrification
  • Drinking water reservoir
  • Estuarine sediment
  • Nitrogen removal capability
  • Yangtze estuary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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