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Suspended solids induced increasing microbial ammonium recycling along the river-estuary continuum of Yangtze River
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  • Jingya Xue,
  • Zhonghua Zhao,
  • Xiaolong Yao,
  • Weiting Liu,
  • Lu Zhang
Jingya Xue
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Zhonghua Zhao
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Xiaolong Yao
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Weiting Liu
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Lu Zhang
Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Abstract

Many large rivers worldwide are enriched with high levels of suspended solids (SS), which are known to be hotspots of many nitrogen (N) transformation processes (e.g., denitrification, nitrification). However, the influence of SS on microbial ammonium (NH4+) recycling remains unclear. Water column NH4+ regeneration rates (REGs) and potential uptake rates (Upots) as well as community biological NH4+ demand (CBAD) was measured in the river-estuary continuum of the third longest river in the world—Yangtze River, where shows dramatic SS gradients. We found that, REGs, Upots, and CBAD all showed increasing trends along the river flow, with higher REGs, Upots, and CBAD in the estuary than in the river sections. The regeneration and uptake of NH4+ were nearly balanced in the river sections, while the positive CBAD in the estuary indicated obvious NH4+ demand of microbes. Concentrations of SS, which also controls the content of chemical oxygen demand and particulate N, were the main factor influencing NH4+ recycling rates and CBAD. SS induced regenerated NH4+ in the river-estuary continuum of Yangtze River was estimated to be 21.81 × 108 kg N yr−1 and accounted for about 25% of total N inputs, suggesting that regenerated NH4+ is an important N source for microbes and may influence nutrient dynamics in lower coasts. To our knowledge, this is the first to report NH4+ recycling in Yangtze River with an emphasis on its influencing factors and contribution to N budgets.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

22 Mar 2021Submitted to Hydrological Processes
23 Mar 2021Assigned to Editor
23 Mar 2021Submission Checks Completed
23 Mar 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
24 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 May 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Major