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RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Evidence for marine production of monoterpenes

Noureddine Yassaa A B , Ilka Peeken C D , Eckart Zöllner C , Katrin Bluhm C , Steve Arnold E , Dominick Spracklen E and Jonathan Williams A F
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A Air Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, D-55020 Mainz, Germany.

B Faculty of Chemistry, University of Sciences and Technology Houari Boumediene (U.S.T.H.B.), Bab-Ezzouar, 16111 Algiers, Algeria.

C Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel (IFM GEOMAR), Biological Oceanography, D-24105 Kiel, Germany.

D Present address: Center for Marine Environmental Sciences MARUM, Bremen, Germany, and Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research, D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany.

E Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, Environment Building, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, United Kingdom.

F Corresponding author. Email: williams@mpch-mainz.mpg.de

Environmental Chemistry 5(6) 391-401 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN08047
Submitted: 7 August 2008  Accepted: 5 November 2008   Published: 18 December 2008

Environmental context. Laboratory incubation experiments and shipboard measurements in the Southern Atlantic Ocean have provided the first evidence for marine production of monoterpenes. Nine marine phytoplankton monocultures were investigated using a GC-MS equipped with an enantiomerically-selective column and found to emit monoterpenes including (–)-/(+)-pinene, limonene and p-ocimene, all of which were previously thought to be exclusively of terrestrial origin. Maximum levels of 100–200 pptv total monoterpenes were encountered when the ship crossed an active phytoplankton bloom.

Abstract. Laboratory incubation experiments and shipboard measurements on the Southern Atlantic Ocean have provided the first evidence for marine production of monoterpenes. Nine marine phytoplankton monocultures were investigated using a GC-MS equipped with an enantiomerically-selective column and found to emit at rates, expressed as nmol C10H16 (monoterpene) g [chlorophyll a]–1 day–1, from 0.3 nmol g [chlorophyll a]–1 day–1 for Skeletonema costatum and Emiliania huxleyi to 225.9 nmol g [chlorophyll a]–1 day–1 for Dunaliella tertiolecta. Nine monoterpenes were identified in the sample and not in the control, namely: (–)-/(+)-pinene, myrcene, (+)-camphene, (–)-sabinene, (+)-3-carene, (–)-pinene, (–)-limonene and p-ocimene. In addition, shipboard measurements of monoterpenes in air were made in January–March 2007, over the South Atlantic Ocean. Monoterpenes were detected in marine air sufficiently far from land as to exclude influence from terrestrial sources. Maximum levels of 100–200 pptv total monoterpenes were encountered when the ship crossed an active phytoplankton bloom, whereas in low chlorophyll regions monoterpenes were mostly below detection limit.

Additional keywords: algae, isoprene, organic trace gases, Southern Atlantic Ocean.


Acknowledgements

This work was completed as part of the OOMPH project (Specific Targeted Research Project (STREP) in the Global Change and Ecosystems Sub-Priority). SUSTDEV-2004-3.I.2.1. Project Number 018419. The authors are grateful for logistical support from the IPEV/Aerotrace program during the Southern Ocean cruise. The authors thank Tom Custer for his technical assistance during the laboratory experiments and the cruise and for making the back-trajectory figures, and Rolf Hofmann, Thomas Küpfel, Sarah Gebhardt, Vinayak Sinha and Aurélie Colomb for their technical assistance during the cruise.


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