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Environmental problems - Chemical approaches

Iodine and Halocarbon Response of Laminaria digitata to Oxidative Stress and Links to Atmospheric New Particle Production

Carl J. Palmer A , Thorsten L. Anders A , Lucy J. Carpenter A D , Frithjof C. Küpper B and Gordon B. McFiggans C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Chemistry, University of York, YO10 3DD, UK.

B Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA, UK.

C School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, M13 9PL, UK.

D Corresponding author. Email: ljc4@york.ac.uk

Environmental Chemistry 2(4) 282-290 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN05078
Submitted: 26 September 2005  Accepted: 21 October 2005   Published: 8 December 2005

Environmental Context. Various organic iodine compounds (including CH3I, CH2ClI, CH2BrI, CH2I2) are present throughout the marine boundary layer as a result of their production from seaweeds, phytoplankton, and photolysis reactions occurring in seawater. In air, these compounds rapidly photolyse to give atomic I which subsequently reacts with ozone to form iodine oxide, potentially leading to perturbations of the tropospheric oxidative capacity and nucleation of atmospheric particles. Recent research has identified molecular iodine as an additional source of iodine atoms to coastal areas. Here we study the relative roles and controls of gaseous organic and molecular iodine release from the seaweed Laminaria digitata.

Abstract. Changes in the halocarbon, I2 and particle production of the brown algal kelp Laminaria digitata as a response to different chemical stresses have been investigated. Oxidative stress (caused by either exogenous hydrogen peroxide, gaseous ozone or a solution of oligoguluronates, known elicitors of oxidative stress) caused increased halocarbon and I2 production by the seaweed. The maximum I2 release was observed under exposure to O3 (at several hundred parts per billion by volume (ppbv)), whereas oligoguluronates elicited the highest release of iodine-containing halocarbons including CH2I2. Significantly greater production of I2, compared to CH2I2, was observed at atmospheric levels of ozone. Particle production was observed only when the Laminaria samples were exposed to ozone (up to 16 000 cm-3 s-1 per gram fresh weight (FW) of seaweed with a ~2 min residence time and with a total I atom flux of 1.6 × 108 cm-3 s-1 g-1 FW from photolysis of I2); passing O3-free air over the unstressed seaweed followed by secondary mixing with ozone did not result in any measurable particle formation. Our limited data indicate that ozone elicits abiotic production of I2 from Laminaria and that there is a direct relationship between the amount of I2 released and the number of particles formed. The results support the recent hypothesis that molecular iodine rather than volatile organic iodine (e.g. CH2I2) release from exposed seaweeds is the major source of coastal new particle production.


This work was financially supported by NERC (grant number NER/B/S/2002/00551) and the authors acknowledge the technical help of Dr Rachel Burgess from the University of Manchester School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences. We are also grateful to Dr Alastair Lewis, Department of Chemistry, York, for loan of the ozone monitor.


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