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Spatial and Seasonal Distribution and Transportation of Different Forms of Phosphorus in the Middle Reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River

State Key Laboratory of Hydraulics and Mountain River Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
Guangzhou Municipal Institute of Water Affairs Investigation and Design, Guangzhou 510000, China
Sichuan Water Conservancy Vocational College, Dujiangyan 611830, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(12), 1858;
Received: 17 November 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 14 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Chemistry of Water Quality Monitoring)
PDF [7259 KB, uploaded 19 December 2018]


The Yarlung Zangbo River basin ecosystem is fragile. The distribution and transportation of phosphorus is of great significance for aquatic environmental protection and ecological security. The sequential extraction method and molybdenum antimony anti-spectrophotometry were used to measure the concentrations of different forms of phosphorus in the surface sediments from 15 sampling sites along the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River and its tributaries. The results show that the total phosphorus concentration in the surface sediments is 194.0~540.7 mg/kg, which is mainly composed of inorganic phosphorus. The concentrations of various phosphorus forms ranked as calcium-bound phosphorus (355.6 ± 86.0 mg/kg) > soluble phosphorus (15.9 ± 10.0 mg/kg) > iron-bound phosphorus (12.4 ± 12.3 mg/kg) > organic phosphorus (9.6 ± 6.1 mg/kg) > occluded phosphorus (9.2 ± 3.8 mg/kg) > aluminum-bound phosphorus (5.4 ± 2.3 mg/kg). On the whole, phosphorus concentration is greater in wet season than dry season. Regarding the spatial distribution characteristics, there are great disparities in the different forms of phosphorus in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Comprehensive analysis shows that phosphorus of this area is mainly self-generated, and concentration of bioavailable phosphorus is small, demonstrating there will not be a large release. We also drew a “specific triangle” of the different forms of phosphorus concentrations in the research area and defined the “α” angle to determine the nutrient status of the overlying water quickly and effectively. Finally, phosphorus flux of the mainstream was estimated. This research may provide information on the phosphorus of Plateau Rivers. View Full-Text
Keywords: Yarlung Zangbo River; phosphorus; distribution; transportation Yarlung Zangbo River; phosphorus; distribution; transportation

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Cheng, X.; Huang, Y.; Pu, X.; An, R.; Huang, W.; Li, J.; Wang, W.; Li, R. Spatial and Seasonal Distribution and Transportation of Different Forms of Phosphorus in the Middle Reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Water 2018, 10, 1858.

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