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Dissimilatory nitrate reduction processes in sediments of urban river networks: Spatiotemporal variations and environmental implications

Cheng, Lv, Li, Xiaofei, Lin, Xianbiao, Hou, Lijun, Liu, Min, Li, Ye, Liu, Sai, Hu, Xiaoting
Environmental pollution 2016 v.219 pp. 545-554
anaerobic ammonium oxidation, carbon, denitrification, dissolved oxygen, environmental factors, iron, nitrate reduction, nitrates, nitrogen, rivers, sediments, slurries, spatial variation, sulfides, summer, temporal variation, winter, China
Urbanizations have increased the loadings of reactive nitrogen in urban riverine environments. However, limited information about dissimilatory nitrate reduction processes and associated contributions to nitrogen removal is available for urban riverine environments. In this study, sediment slurry experiments were conducted with nitrogen isotope-tracing technique to investigate the potential rates of denitrification, anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) and dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) and their contributions to nitrate reduction in sediments of urban river networks, Shanghai. The potential rates of denitrification, anammox and DNRA measured in the study area ranged from 0.193 to 98.7 nmol N g−1 h−1 dry weight (dw), 0.0387–23.7 nmol N g−1 h−1 dw and 0–10.3 nmol N g−1 h−1 dw, respectively. Denitrification and DNRA rates were higher in summer than in winter, while anammox rates were greater in winter than in summer for most sites. Dissolved oxygen, total organic carbon, nitrate, ammonium, sulfide, Fe(II) and Fe(III) were found to have significant influence on these nitrate reduction processes. Denitrification contributed 11.5–99.5%% to total nitrate reduction, as compared to 0.343–81.6% for anammox and 0–52.3% for DNRA. It is estimated that nitrogen loss of approximately 1.33 × 105 t N year−1 was linked to both denitrification and anammox processes, which accounted for about 20.1% of total inorganic nitrogen transported annually into the urban river networks of Shanghai. Overall, these results show the potential importance of denitrification and anammox in nitrogen removal and provide new insight into the mechanisms of nitrogen cycles in urban riverine environments.