Comparison of sediment biomarker signatures generated using time-integrated and discrete suspended sediment samples

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Upadhayay, H. R., Granger, S. J. and Collins, A. L. 2024. Comparison of sediment biomarker signatures generated using time-integrated and discrete suspended sediment samples. Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

AuthorsUpadhayay, H. R., Granger, S. J. and Collins, A. L.

Sediment source fingerprinting using biomarker properties has led to new insights in our understanding of land use contributions to time-integrated suspended sediment samples at catchment scale. A time-integrated mass-flux sampler (TIMS; also known as the ‘Phillips’ sampler), a cost-effective approach for suspended sediment collection in situ. Such samplers are being used to collect sediment samples for source fingerprinting purposes, including by studies using biomarkers as opposed to more conventional tracer properties. Here, we assessed the performance of TIMS for collecting representative sediment samples for biomarkers during high discharge events in a small lowland agricultural catchment. Concentrations of long odd-chain n-alkanes (>C23) and both saturated free and bound fatty acids (C14-C32), as well as compound-specific 13C were compared between sediment collected by both TIMS and auto-samplers (ISCO). The results showed that concentrations of alkanes, free fatty acids and bound fatty acids are consistently comparable between TIMS and ISCO suspended sediment samples. Similarly, compound-specific 13C signals were not found to be significantly different in the suspended sediment samples collected using the different samplers. However, different magnitudes of resemblance in biomarker concentrations and compositions between the samples collected using the two sediment collection methods were confirmed by overlapping index and symmetric coordinates-based correlation analysis. Here, the difference is attributed to the contrasting temporal basis of TIMS (time-integrated) vs ISCO (discrete) samples, as well as potential differences in the particle sizes collected by these different sediment sampling methods. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that TIMS can be used to generate representative biomarker data for suspended sediment samples collected during high discharge events.

KeywordsSource fingerprinting; Alkanes; Fatty acids; Sediment; Biotracers
Year of Publication2024
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 3 (WP3) - Sustainable intensification - optimisation at multiple scales
Resilient Farming Futures
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Open Government Licence
Accepted author manuscript
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online26 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted14 Feb 2024

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