Dissolved carbohydrate concentration, composition, and bioavailability to microbial heterotrophs in stream water

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Gremm, T.J., and L.A. Kaplan. 1998. CLEAN–Soil, Air, Water 26(3):167–171.

doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-401X(199805)26:3<167::AID-AHEH167>3.0.CO;2-Q


Dissolved total carbohydrates (DTCH), dissolved free monosaccharides (DFMS), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), biodegradable DOC (BDOC), and humic substances (HS) were measured in White Clay Creek (WCC), a stream in southeastern Pennsylvania Piedmont, USA. Samples were collected over different seasons and under baseflow and stormflow conditions. DOC concentrations ranged from 1.0 to 12.8 mg/L C with the highest concentrations associated with stormflows. Carbohydrates ranged from 0.42 to 12.4 μM and accounted for 2.9 to 12.7% of the DOC. Humic substances represented the major DOC fraction, accounting for 55 to 72% of the DOC pool under all flow conditions. The humic fraction had a lower carbohydrate content (4.4%) than the non-humic fraction of DOC (7.2%). Stormflow DOC was enriched in carbohydrates relative to baseflow DOC, but the percentage of humic-C changed little. Carbohydrates were primarily present as dissolved polysaccharides (55%), but a significant fraction was bound to humic substances (40%), while a small proportion was present as monosaccharides (5%). The major monosaccharides in stream water, listed in order of decreasing concentration, included glucose, galactose, rhamnose, xylose, arabinose, mannose, and fucose. On average (30.6 ± 7.4)% (n = 44) of the stream water DOC was biodegradable, and carbohydrates accounted for 9.9 to 17.7% of the BDOC.