Seston was studied during inundation in a seasonally flooded lake of Changjiang River system (Lake Chenhu, Hanyang, P.R. China). Particulate organic matter (POM), particulate inorganic matter (PIM), particulate organic carbon (POC) and particulate organic nitrogen (PON) concentrations were highest upon initial inflow of river water, as a result of the riverine transport of allochthonous seston into the lake, and during the initial draining phase, coinciding with the postflood development of phytoplankton biomass and accumulation of detritus from the decomposition of the inundated vegetation grown during the preceding period of exposure. However seston concentrations were lowest shortly after the termination of flood inflow, presumably due to sedimentation and river water dilution. Seston food quality, based on POM : PIM, C : N and Algal-AFDW : POM ratios, was higher during the early high water phase than during the filling and draining phases.