• P-ISSN2233-4203
  • E-ISSN2093-8950

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  • P-ISSN 2233-4203
  • E-ISSN 2093-8950

Molecular Characterization of Dissolved Organic Matter Unveils their Complexity, Origin, and Fate in Glacier and Glacial-Fed Streams and Lakes on the Tibetan Plateau

Mass Spectrometry Letters, (P)2233-4203; (E)2093-8950
2021, v.12 no.4, pp.192-199
Kim Min Sung (Korea Basic Science Institute)
Zhou Lei (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Choi Mira (Korea Basic Science Institute)
Zhang Yunlin (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Zhou Yongqiang (Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Jang Kyoung-Soon (Korea Basic Science Institute)

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Alpine glaciers harbor a large quantity of bio-labile dissolved organic matter (DOM), which plays a pivotal role in global carbon cycling as glacial-fed streams are headwaters of numerous large rivers. To understand the complexity, origin, and fate of DOM in glaciers and downstream-linked streams and lakes, we elucidated the molecular composition of DOM in two dif-ferent Tibetan Plateau glaciers, eight glacial-fed streams and five lakes, using an ultrahigh-resolution 15 Tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer. The compositional changes of the DOM samples revealed that glacier DOM mostly exhibited sulfur-containing organic compounds (CHOS species). We also found that aliphatic formulae contrib-uted more than 50% of the total abundance of assigned molecules in glacier samples, and those compounds were significantly related to CHOS species. The CHO proportions of glacial-fed streams and lakes samples increased with increasing distance from glacial terminals. The relative contribution of terrestrial-derived organics (i.e., lignins and tannins) declined while microbial-originated organics (aliphatics) increased with increasing elevation. This suggested the gradual input of allochthonous materials from non-glacial environment and the degradation of microbe-derived compounds along lower elevations. Alpine glaciers are retreating as a result of climate change and they nourished numerous streams, rivers, and downstream-linked lakes. Therefore, the interpretations of the detailed molecular changes in glacier ice, glacial-fed streams, and alpine lakes on the Tibetan Plateau could provide broad insights for understanding the biogeochemical cycling of glacial DOM and assessing how the nature of DOM impacts fluvial ecosystems.

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