Origin and biochemical cycling of particulate nitrogen in the Mandovi estuary
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Mandovi estuary is a tropical estuary strongly influenced by the southwest monsoon. In order to understand, sources and fate of particulate organic nitrogen, suspended particulate matter (SPM) collected from various locations, was analyzed for particulate organic carbon (POC) and particulate organic nitrogen (PON), delta sup(13) C sub(POC), total hydrolysable amino acid enantiomers (L- and D- amino acids) concentration and composition. Delta sup(13)C sub(POC) values were depleted (-32 to -25 ppt) during the monsoon and enriched (-29.6 to -21 ppt) in the pre-monsoon season implying that OM was derived from terrestrial and marine sources during the former and latter season, respectively. The biological indicators such as C/N ratio, D-amino acids, THAA yields and degradation indices (DI) indicate that the particulate organic matter (POM) was relatively more degraded during the monsoon season. Conversely, during the premonsoon, the biological indicators indicated the presence of relatively fresh and labile POM derived from autochthonous sources. Amino acids such as alanine, aspartic acid, leucine, serine, arginine, and threonine in monsoon and glutamic acid, glycine, valine, lysine, and isoleucine in pre-monsoon were relatively abundant. Presence of bacterial biomarker, D-amino acids in the SPM of the estuary during both the seasons signifies important contribution of bacteria to the estuarine detrital ON pool. Based on D-amino acid yields, bacterial OM accounted for 16-34% (23.0 + or -6.7%) of POC and 29-75% (47.9 + or -18.7%) of PON in monsoon, and 30-78% (50.0 + or -15%) of POC and 34-79% (51.2 + or -13.3%) of the PON in premonsoon in the estuary. Substantial contribution of bacterial-N to PON indicates nitrogen (N) enrichment on terrestrial POM during the monsoon season. Transport of terrestrial POM enriched with bacterial OM to the coastal waters is expected to influence coastal productivity and ecosystem functioning during the monsoon season.
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