Variations in lignin-derived phenols in sediments of Japanese lakes over the last century and their relation to watershed vegetation

Fujio Hyodo, Michinobu Kuwae, Naoko Sasaki, Ryoma Hayashi, Wataru Makino, Soichiro Kusaka, Narumi K. Tsugeki, Seiji Ishida, Hajime Ohtsuki, Kohei Omoto, Jotaro Urabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Lignins have been used as a biomarker to explore changes in terrestrial organic matter input into lakes and to investigate past watershed vegetation. Burial of organic carbon (OC) in lake sediments, an important component of the global C cycle, is likely associated with the terrestrial OC input. However, few studies have explored changes in terrestrial C input into lakes in the last century. Furthermore, the relationship between lignin phenol compositions and watershed vegetation remains poorly examined. In this study, we examined changes in OC concentrations, OC mass accumulation rates (MAR), and lignin phenol compositions over the last century in sediments from six lakes in Japan that differ in watershed land-use and vegetation. The sediments were dated using 210Pb and 137Cs, and showed increased OC concentrations and MARs in three lowland lakes over the last century. This pattern was not found in three mountain lakes. In one of the lowland lakes, lignin phenol concentrations normalized to OC did not change during the periods with high OC concentrations and MARs. This indicates that not only eutrophication but also enhanced terrestrial OC input could lead to greater burial of OC. The lignin phenol compositions did not show clear trends over the last century in most of the lakes examined. The ratios of syringyl to vanillyl phenols and the lignin phenol vegetation index had significant relationships with proportions of angiosperms in watershed vegetation. These results demonstrate that lignin phenols are useful in inferring recent as well as past changes in lake watershed environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • CuO oxidation
  • Eutrophication
  • GIS
  • Lake sediment
  • Terrestrial organic matter
  • Watershed vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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