The chemical and isotopic characteristics of the water and suspended particulate materials (SFM) in the Yangtze River were investigated on the samples collected from 25 hydrological monitoring stations in the mainsteam and 13 hydrological monitoring stations in the major tributaries during 2003 to 2007. The water samples show a large variation in both D (-30 parts per thousand to -112 parts per thousand) and O-18 (-3.8%. to -15.4 parts per thousand) values. Both D and O-18 values show a decrease from the river head to the Jinsha Jiang section and then increase downstream to the river mouth. It is found that the oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions of the Yangtze water are controlled by meteoric precipitation, evaporation, ice (and snow) melting and dam building. The Yangtze SPM concentrations show a large variation and are well corresponded to the spatial and temporal changes of flow speed, runoff and SPM supply, which are affected by the slope of the river bed, local precipitation rate, weathering intensity, erosion condition and anthropogenic activity. The Yangtze SPM consists of clay minerals, clastic silicate and carbonate minerals, heavy minerals, iron hydroxide and organic compounds. From the upper to lower reaches, the clay and clastic silicate components in SPM increase gradually, but the carbonate components decrease gradually, which may reflect changes of climate and weathering intensity in the drainage area. Compared to those of the upper crust rocks, the Yangtze SPM has lower contents of SiO2, CaO, K2O and Na2O and higher contents of TFe2O3 and trace metals of Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Pb and Cd. The LREE in the Yangtze SPM is also slightly higher than that of the upper crust From the upper to lower reaches, the CaO and MgO contents in SPM decrease gradually, but the SiOz content increases gradually, corresponding to the increase of clay minerals and decrease of the carbonates. The Si-30(SPM) values (-1.1 parts per thousand to 0.3 parts per thousand) of the Yangtze SPM are similar to those of the average shale, but lower than those of the granite rocks (-0.3 parts per thousand to 0.3 parts per thousand), reflecting the effect of silicon isotope fractionation in silicate weathering process. The Si-30(spm) values of the Yangtze SPM show a decreasing trend from the upper to the middle and lower reaches, responding to the variation of the clay content. The major anions of the river water are HCO3-, SO42-, Cl-, NO3-, SiO(4)(4-)and F- and the major cations include Ca2+, Na+, Mg2+, K+ and Sr2+. The good correlation between HCO3- content and the content of Ca2+ may suggest that carbonate dissolution is the dominate contributor to the total dissolved solid (TDS) of the Yangtze River. Very good correlations are also found among contents of Cl-, SO42-, Na+, Mg2+, K+ and Sr2+, indicating the important contribution of evaporite dissolution to the TDS of the Yangtze River. High TDS contents are generally found in the head water, reflecting a strong effect of evaporation in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. A small increase of the TDS is generally observed in the river mouth, indicating the influence of tidal intrusion. The F- and NO3- contents show a clear increase trend from the upstream to downstream, reflecting the contribution of pesticides and fertilizers in the Chuan Jiang section and the middle and lower reaches. The D-si shows a decrease trend from the upstream to downstream, reflecting the effect of rice and grass growth along the Chuan Jiang section and the middle and lower reaches. The dissolved Cu, Zn and Cd in the Yangtze water are all higher than those in world large rivers, reflecting the effect of intensive mining activity along the Yangtze drainage area. The Yangtze water generally shows similar REE distribution pattern to the global shale. The Si-30(Diss) values of the dissolved silicon vary from 0.5 parts per thousand to 3.7 parts per thousand, which is the highest among those of the rivers studied. The Si-30(Diss) values of the water in the Yangtze mainsteam show an increase trend from the upper stream to downstream. Its D-Si and Si-30(Diss) are influenced by multiple processes, such as weathering process, phytolith growth in plants, evaporation, phytolith dissolution, growth of fresh water diatom, adsorption and desorption of aqueous monosilicic acid on iron oxide, precipitation of silcretes and formation of clays coatings in aquifers, and human activity. The (S-34(SO4) values of the Yangtze water range from -1.7 parts per thousand to 9.0 parts per thousand. The SO4 in the Yangtze water are mainly from the SO4 in meteoric water, the dissolved sulfate from evaporite, and oxidation of sulfide in rocks, coal and ore deposits. The sulfate reduction and precipitation process can also affect the sulfur isotope composition of the Yangtze water. The Sr-87/Sr-86 ratios of the Yangtze water range from 0.70823 to 0.71590, with an average value of 0.71084. The Sr-87/Sr-86 ratio and Sr concentration are primary controlled by mixing of various sources with different Sr-87/Sr-86 ratios and Sr contents, including the limestone, evaporite and the silicate rocks. The atmospheric precipitation and anthropogenic inputs can also contribute some Sr to the river. The B-11 values of the dissolved B in the Yangtze water range from 2.0 parts per thousand to 18.3 parts per thousand, which is affected by multifactors, such as silicate weathering, carbonate weathering, evaporite dissolution, atmospheric deposition, and anthropogenic inputs.