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Environ Sci Technol. 2004 Dec 15;38(24):6605-9.

Ultraviolet radiation affects emission of ozone-depleting substances by marine macroalgae: results from a laboratory incubation study.

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The Swedish Institute for Climate Science and Policy Research, Department of Thematic Studies, Linköpings Universitet, 601 74 Norrköping, Sweden.


The depletion of stratospheric ozone due to the effects of ozone-depleting substances, such as volatile organohalogens, emitted into the atmosphere from industrial and natural sources has increased the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the earth's surface. Especially in the subpolar and polar regions, where stratospheric ozone destruction is the highest, individual organisms and whole ecosystems can be affected. In a laboratory study, several species of marine macroalgae occurring in the polar and northern temperate regions were exposed to elevated levels of ultraviolet radiation. Most of the macroalgae released significantly more chloroform, bromoform, dibromomethane, and methyl iodide-all volatile organohalogens. Calculating on the basis of the release of total chlorine, bromine, and iodine revealed that, except for two macroalgae emitting chlorine and one alga emitting iodine, exposure to ultraviolet radiation caused macroalgae to emit significantly more total chlorine, bromine, and iodine. Increasing levels of ultraviolet radiation due to possible further destruction of the stratospheric ozone layer as a result of ongoing global atmospheric warming may thus increase the future importance of marine macroalgae as a source for the global occurrence of reactive halogen-containing compounds.

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