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Production of Chloroform and Other Low-Molecular-Weight Halocarbons by Some Species of Macroalgae

P. D. Nightingale, G. Malin and P. S. Liss
Limnology and Oceanography
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Jun., 1995), pp. 680-689
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2838303
Page Count: 10
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Production of Chloroform and Other Low-Molecular-Weight Halocarbons by Some Species of Macroalgae
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Abstract

The production of volatile low-molecular-weight halocarbons by macroalgae was investigated at a site on the west of Scotland. Levels of $CH_3 I$, $CH_2Br_2$, $CHBr_3$, $CHBr_2Cl$, $CHBrCl_2$, and $CHCl_3$ were elevated in beds of Laminaria digitata. Storage tests on 11 common species of brown, green, and red seaweeds indicated release of some or all these compounds. Estimates of production rates were obtained from laboratory incubations and, where comparative data are available, are in the range of those previously reported. Measured rates of halomethane release varied with algal species and were inconsistent with halomethane formation by the release of HOBr to seawater and subsequent reaction with organic matter. The production of $CHCl_3$ was best explained by the presence of a chloroperoxidase enzyme. Laboratory experiments suggested that release rates can be influenced by partial desiccation, light availability, tissue age, tissue wounding, and grazing. The release of $CH_3I$, $CH_2Br_2$, $CHBr_3$, $CHBr_2Cl,$ and probably $CHCl_3$ by algae from within a rock pool was observed for the first time. Rates of in situ production were in board agreement with laboratory studies. No production of $CCl_4$ or of $CHClCCl_2$, $CCl_2CCl_2$, or $CH_3CCl_3$ was detected. In addition to $CHBr_3$, macroalgae may be a significant source of $CHCl_3$ to the atmosphere.

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