The Role of Natural Nanoparticles and Colloids for Phosphorus Binding in Forested Headwater Catchments

The Role of Natural Nanoparticles and Colloids for Phosphorus Binding in Forested Headwater Catchments
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Inhaltsangabe zu "The Role of Natural Nanoparticles and Colloids for Phosphorus Binding in Forested Headwater Catchments"

Stream waters reflect the natural load of nutrients and minerals cycled within or released from
ecosystems; yet, little is known about natural colloids (1-1000 nm) and especially nanoparticles (NNP,
1-100 nm) as nutrient carriers in the complex biogeochemical system of forested headwater
catchments. NNP and colloids are recognized as ubiquitous components in natural aqueous phases
and have the potential to encapsulate and bind nutrients, yet are often not included in the analysis of
terrestrial nutrient cycling processes. The distribution of elements between the different
physicochemical forms in solution is an important precursor to understand the mechanisms of
ecosystem nutrition, especially for limiting nutrients like phosphorus (P). The size and composition of
NNP and colloids in aqueous phases is therefore relevant for the transport of essential nutrients like
Asymmetric Flow Field Flow Fractionation (AF4) was coupled online to a UV detector for
approximation of organic C, a dynamic light scattering device for recording of the hydrodynamic
particle diameter, a quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer with collision cell
technology (ICP-MS) for elemental size-resolved detection and to an organic carbon detector (OCD)
for high sensitive size-resolved organic carbon detection. Method development of hyphenated AF4
was performed whereas online P detection represented a specific challenge due to the low
concentrations in many natural waters. Methodological considerations on the oxidation efficiency of
OCD, the capability of ICP-MS to detect organic C and on a setup to be able to determine the
bioavailability of NNP and colloid bound P were assessed. Stream waters of forested headwater
catchments were sampled as representative medium for mobile components in ecosystems. To
assess a more universally valid role of NNP and colloids, an upscaling approach of the catchment
based analysis was chosen from regional to national to continental scale.
The aim of the regional sampling study was to characterize NNP and colloidal bound P of distinct
hydromorphological areas in stream water of the Wüstebach catchment. The NNP and colloidal P
could be fractionated in two size fractions (2-20 nm and >20-300 nm), which constituted up to 100%
of the total river P discharge depending on hydromorphology. For the small size fraction, variations in
P concentrations followed the Al variations; in addition, a high Fe presence in both fractions was
accompanied by high P concentrations. Moreover, organic C was approximated together with P in
the presence of Fe and Al, suggesting that Fe and Al are potential carriers of P and associated with
organic matter. Tracing the origin of NNP and colloid fractions revealed mixed inputs from soil and
vegetation of the catchment. The data enables the inputs and source regions of NNP and colloidal
fractions to be traced and conceptually defined for the first time within a small river of a headwater


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Verlag:Forschungszentrum Jülich

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