Phosphorus bioavailability of fluvial sediments determined by algal assays

  • Ellis B
  • Stanford J
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Eroding bank soils and riverine suspended sediments from the Flathead River-Lake ecosystem, Montana, USA, were cultured with the alga Selenastrum capricornutum Printz in PAAP medium with the sediments as the sole source of phosphorus. Extraction of phosphorus by NaOH and nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA) solutions were compared to results from algal bioassays. The fine sediment particles transported into Flathead Lake during spring runoff had the highest availability (i.e. 6% of total phosphorus). Bank soils which contained the greatest percentage of fine clays exhibited similar (i.e. 4% of total phosphorus) availability. Bank soils containing predominantly organic phosphorus had the lowest availability. Spearman's rank correlation indicated significance at the 5% test level between algal assay estimates of available phosphorus and both chemical extraction techniques.

Author-supplied keywords

  • bioassay
  • bioavailability
  • phosphorus
  • sediments

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  • Bonnie K. Ellis

  • Jack A. Stanford

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