Special Issue "Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Surface- and Ground-Water: Sources, Mechanisms, Processes, and Pathways"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water Quality and Contamination".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Gurpal S. Toor
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Science and Technology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Interests: nitrogen; phosphorus; biogeochemistry; water quality; stable isotopes
Prof. Dr. Zhi Li
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Natural Resources and Environment, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, Yangling 712100, China
Interests: hydrological processes; water quality; tracer techniques; land use change effects
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nitrogen and phosphorus are two critical nutrients for crop productivity and are largely responsible for ensuring adequate food, fiber, and shelter for the growing human population. Abundant availability and excessive use of nutrients to grow food have led to nutrient surpluses in developed countries and mismanagement of nutrients in developing countries. This has resulted in losses of nutrients from land to water bodies, leading to eutrophication, the onset of harmful algal blooms, and hypoxia in water bodies. This Special Issue aims to invite contributions that explore the sources, processes, mechanisms, and pathways of nitrogen and phosphorus losses from land to surface- and ground-water. Example topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Fate and transport of nitrogen and phosphorus in landscapes perturbed by anthropogenic activities (agriculture, urbanization, deforestation, mining, etc.);
  • Tracking sources of nitrogen and phosphorus in water bodies using isotopes and other techniques;
  • Unraveling mechanistic processes driving nitrogen and phosphorus release and transport from land to water;
  • Pathways (leaching, runoff, sub-surface) of nitrogen and phosphorus loss from landscapes to water bodies;
  • Biogeochemistry of nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil–plant–water–atmosphere continuum.

Prof. Dr. Gurpal S. Toor
Prof. Dr. Zhi Li
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • nitrogen
  • phosphorus
  • water quality
  • surface water
  • ground-water

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
After the Storm: Fate and Leaching of Particulate Nitrogen (PN) in the Fluvial Network and the Influence of Watershed Sources and Moisture Conditions
Water 2021, 13(22), 3182; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13223182 - 11 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Large storms can erode, transport, and deposit substantial amounts of particulate nitrogen (PN) in the fluvial network. The fate of this input and its consequence for water quality is poorly understood. This study investigated the transformation and leaching of PN using a 56-day [...] Read more.
Large storms can erode, transport, and deposit substantial amounts of particulate nitrogen (PN) in the fluvial network. The fate of this input and its consequence for water quality is poorly understood. This study investigated the transformation and leaching of PN using a 56-day incubation experiment with five PN sources: forest floor humus, upland mineral A horizon, stream bank, storm deposits, and stream bed. Experiments were subjected to two moisture regimes: continuously moist and dry–wet cycles. Sediment and porewater samples were collected through the incubation and analyzed for N and C species, as well as the quantification of nitrifying and denitrifying genes (amoA, nirS, nirK). C- and N-rich watershed sources experienced decomposition, mineralization, and nitrification and released large amounts of dissolved N, but the amount of N released varied depending on the PN source and moisture regime. Drying and rewetting stimulated nitrification and suppressed denitrification in most PN sources. Storm deposits released large amounts of porewater N regardless of the moisture conditions, indicating that they could readily act as N sources under a variety of conditions. The inputs, processing, and leaching of large, storm-driven PN inputs become increasingly important as the frequency and intensity of large storms is predicted to increase with global climate change. Full article
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Article
Effect of Biochar Amendment in Woodchip Denitrifying Bioreactors for Nitrate and Phosphate Removal in Tile Drainage Flow
Water 2021, 13(20), 2883; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13202883 - 14 Oct 2021
Viewed by 323
Abstract
Biochar has received increased attention in environmental applications in recent years. Therefore, three pilot-scale denitrifying bioreactors, one filled with woodchips only and the other two enriched with 10% and 20% by volume of biochar from deciduous wood, were tested under field conditions for [...] Read more.
Biochar has received increased attention in environmental applications in recent years. Therefore, three pilot-scale denitrifying bioreactors, one filled with woodchips only and the other two enriched with 10% and 20% by volume of biochar from deciduous wood, were tested under field conditions for the removal of nitrate (NO3-N) and phosphate (PO4-P) from tile drainage water in Lithuania over a 3-year period. The experiment showed the possibility to improve NO3-N removal by incorporating 20% biochar into woodchips. Compared to the woodchips only and woodchips amended with 10% biochar, the NO3-N removal effect was particularly higher at temperatures below 10.0 °C. The results also revealed that woodchips alone can be a suitable medium for PO4-P removal, while the amendment of biochar to woodchips (regardless of 10% or 20%) can lead to large releases of PO4-P and other elements. Due to the potential adverse effects, the use of biochar in woodchip bioreactors has proven to be very limited and complicated. The experiment highlighted the need to determine the retention capacity of biochar for relevant substances depending on the feedstock and its physical and chemical properties before using it in denitrifying bioreactors. Full article
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Article
Evidence of Phosphate Mining and Agriculture Influence on Concentrations, Forms, and Ratios of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in a Florida River
Water 2021, 13(8), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13081064 - 13 Apr 2021
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Abstract
Florida has a long history of phosphate-mining, but less is known about how mining affects nutrient exports to coastal waters. Here, we investigated the transport of inorganic and organic forms of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) over 23 sampling events during a wet [...] Read more.
Florida has a long history of phosphate-mining, but less is known about how mining affects nutrient exports to coastal waters. Here, we investigated the transport of inorganic and organic forms of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) over 23 sampling events during a wet season (June–September) in primary tributaries and mainstem of Alafia River that drains into the Tampa Bay Estuary. Results showed that a tributary draining the largest phosphate-mining area (South Prong) had less flashy peaks, and nutrients were more evenly exported relative to an adjacent tributary (North Prong), highlighting the effectiveness of the mining reclamation on stream hydrology. Tributaries draining > 10% phosphate-mining area had significantly higher specific conductance (SC), pH, dissolved reactive P (DRP), and total P (TP) than tributaries without phosphate-mining. Further, mean SC, pH, and particulate reactive P were positively correlated with the percent phosphate-mining area. As phosphate-mining occurred in the upper part of the watershed, the SC, pH, DRP, and TP concentrations increased downstream along the mainstem. For example, the upper watershed contributed 91% of TP compared to 59% water discharge to the Alafia River. In contrast to P, the highest concentrations of total N (TN), especially nitrate + nitrite (NOx–N) occurred in agricultural tributaries, where the mean NOx–N was positively correlated with the percent agricultural land. Dissolved organic N was dominant in all streamwaters and showed minor variability across sites. As a result of N depletion and P enrichment, the phosphate-mining tributaries had significantly lower molar ratios of TN:TP and NOx–N:DRP than other tributaries. Bi-weekly monitoring data showed consistent increases in SC and DRP and a decrease in NOx–N at the South Prong tributary (highest phosphate-mining area) throughout the wet season, and different responses of dissolved inorganic nutrients (negative) and particulate nutrients (positive) to water discharge. We conclude that (1) watersheds with active and reclaimed phosphate-mining and agriculture lands are important sources of streamwater P and N, respectively, and (2) elevated P inputs from the phosphate-mining areas altered the N:P ratios in streamwaters of the Alafia River. Full article
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