Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences

Yellow substance (gelbstoff) and its contribution to the attenuation of photosynthetically active radiation in some inland and coastal south-eastern Australian waters

JTO Kirk

Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 27(1) 61 - 71
Published: 1976


The absorption spectra relative to distilled water of samples from various inland and coastal waters in south-eastern Australia (New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory) have been measured. Amongst the freshwater samples the level of dissolved yellow substance (gelbstoff) was found to vary seven-fold (the base-10 logarithm absorption coefficient at 440 nm ranged from 0.42 to 2.90 m-1). In coastal sea water the concentration was much lower than in any of the freshwater samples (absorption coefficient 0.01-0.08 m-1 at 440 nm). Calculations have been carried out of the contribution made by yellow substance to attenuation of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). In the inland waters yellow substance has a dominating influence on light attenuation, reducing the amount of PAR many-fold, and the blue region of the spectrum is abolished at quite moderate depths. In all cases except sea water it was calculated that most (60-80%) of the quanta captured are absorbed by yellow substance rather than by water.

An alternative name, 'gilvin' (Latin, gilvus = pale yellow), for the yellow pigments in natural waters, to replace 'yellow substance' or 'gelbstoff ', is suggested.

© CSIRO 1976

Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (93)

View Altmetrics