Variations in Abundance and Size Distribution of Carbohydrates in the Lower Mississippi River, Pearl River and Bay of St Louis

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Marine Science


Riverine export of dissolved and particulate organic matter to the sea is one of the major components in marine carbon cycles, affecting biogeochemical processes in estuarine and coastal regions. However, the detailed composition of organic material and the relative partitioning among the dissolved, colloidal, and particulate phases are poorly quantified. The abundance of carbohydrate species and their partitioning among dissolved, colloidal, and particulate phases were examined in the waters from the lower Mississippi River (MR), the lower Pearl River (PR), and the Bay of St. Louis (BSL). Particulate carbohydrates (PCHO) represented a small fraction of the particulate organic carbon (POC) pool, with 4.7 +/- 3.1%, 4.5 +/- 2.4% and 1.8 +/- 0.83% in the MR, PR, and BSL, respectively. Dissolved carbohydrates (DCHO) were a major component of the bulk dissolved organic carbon (DOC) pool, comprising 23%, 35%, and 18% in the MR, PR, and BSL, respectively. Differences in the DCHO/DOC ratio between the MR, PR, and BSL were related to their distinct characteristics in drainage basins, anthropogenic impacts, and hydrological conditions, reflecting differences in sources and composition of organic matter in different aquatic environments. Within the total carbohydrates (TCHO) pool, the high-molecular-weight carbohydrates (HMW-CHO, 1 kDa-0.45 mu m) were the dominant species, representing 52-71% of the TCHO pool, followed by the low-molecular-weight carbohydrates (LMW-CHO, <1 kDa), representing 14-44% of the TCHO. The PCHO accounted for 4-16% of the bulk TCHO. Variations in the size distribution of carbohydrates among the MR, PR, and BSL were closely linked to the cycling pathway of organic matter and the interactions between different size fractions of the carbohydrates. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science



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