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Hasnaoui, M., Kassila, J., Loudiki, M., Droussi, M., Balvay, G. and G. Barrouin.. (2001). Phosphate release at the water-sediment interface in a fisheries pond of the Deroua fish farm (Béni Mellal, Morocco). Rev. Sci. Eau 14/3 (2001) 307-322. [article in French]

Original title: Relargage du phosphore à l'interface eau-sédiment dans des étangs de pisciculture de la station Deroua (Béni Mellal, Maroc).

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In the Deroua fish farm (Béni-Mellal, Morocco), a series of ponds was lined with polyethylene to prevent water seepage (lined ponds, C). Another series of ponds was not lined (unlined ponds, A). The lined ponds do not need much fertiliser to enhance phytoplankton growth. They receive a small quantity of urea and triple super phosphate and accumulate high levels of organic matter in their sediments. The unlined ponds receive a large quantity of fertilisers. In the ponds, an important increase in phytoplankton growth occurred particularly after fertilisation with triple super phosphate. The phosphate (P) released from the sediment is the essential source of P for phytoplankton when the ponds are not fertilised.

Sediment samples used in this study were collected in June 1999 from the A1 and C1 ponds of the Deroua fish farm. The bottom sediments were collected with a core sampler to provide samples from the 0-5 cm layer. The samples were mixed and analysed for pH, total Kjeldahl nitrogen (NTK), nitrates (N-NO3-), ammonium (N-NH4+), total iron (tot-Fe) and P-fractionation in eight replicates, using the Golterman method (1996).

In this work, experiments were conducted to evaluate the P released from sediments of lined and unlined ponds under controlled conditions. The samples included: untreated sediments, sediments treated with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and sediments treated with chloroform (CHCl3). H2O2 was used to destroy the organic matter of sediment. To inactivate bacteria, CHCl3 was added to the sediments. CHCl3 does not modify the mineral and organic structures of sediments but does reduce the bacterial biomass. Urea and triple super phosphate were added to Chinese carp rearing ponds at Deroua fisheries farm to stimulate algal growth. However, phosphate bound to the sediments was released into the water column during anaerobic conditions. The released phosphate from lined pond (C1) enhanced the algal production.

We have tested the fertilisation capacity of A1 and C1 ponds as well as the effects of different factors such as dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrate, and organic matter (glucose) on the phosphate released from the sediments. The results show that under anoxic conditions, phosphate solubility increased in the interstitial water. The released phosphate (873 µg/l) comes from the mineral fraction, particularly from Fe(OOH)=P. The P released from the A1 untreated sediment under oxic and anoxic conditions was low in comparison to the P released from the C1 untreated sediment and did not exceed 9.1 µg.g-1 d.w. (Figure 1). The removal of organic matter with H2O2 had a positive effect on the P released from the C1 sediments only after the second day of incubation. The inactivation of bacteria with CHCl3 had an inhibitory effect on the P released from the C1 sediments under oxic and anoxic conditions; however for the A1 sediments, this inactivation of bacteria had no effect on the kinetics of P release. Phosphorus release from the C1 sediments was important under anoxic conditions; the P came from Fe(OOH)=P after the reduction of Fe(OOH).

The addition of nitrates decreased the mobilisation of phosphate from the sediments. Acid conditions increased the dissolution of calcium-bound phosphate, while alkaline conditions increased the dissolution of iron-bound phosphate and its re-precipitation onto carbonate present in sediments. High concentrations of organic matter (glucose) increased oxygen demand and favoured the development of reducing conditions. The phosphate was released from Fe(OOH)=P.

The conceptual model of P released in fish ponds shows that, in semiarid climates and in calcareous areas, the polyethylene lining of ponds prevents not only the seepage of water but also the percolation of nutrients. Consequently, the P was more available for algal uptake in the lined ponds. More phosphate will be released concomitant with the process of the ponds becoming anoxic, as nitrate concentrations and the pH of sediments decrease.


Morocco, Deroua, orthophosphates, release, fertilisation, oxic, anoxic, lined pond, production, fish.

Corresponding author

M. Hasnaoui, Laboratoire d'Écologie Appliquée, Département des Sciences de la vie, Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université Cadi Ayyad, BP 523. 23000 Béni-Mellal, MAROC

Email : must_hasnaoui@yahoo.com

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Update: 2006-12-19
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