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Environ Sci Technol. 2014 Jul 1;48(13):7418-27. doi: 10.1021/es5016668. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Sunlight-driven photochemical halogenation of dissolved organic matter in seawater: a natural abiotic source of organobromine and organoiodine.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington , Seattle, Washington 98195-2700, United States.


Reactions of dissolved organic matter (DOM) with photochemically generated reactive halogen species (RHS) may represent an important natural source of organohalogens within surface seawaters. However, investigation of such processes has been limited by difficulties in quantifying low dissolved organohalogen concentrations in the presence of background inorganic halides. In this work, sequential solid phase extraction (SPE) and silver-form cation exchange filtration were utilized to desalt and preconcentrate seawater DOM prior to nonspecific organohalogen analysis by ICP-MS. Using this approach, native organobromine and organoiodine contents were found to range from 3.2-6.4 × 10(-4) mol Br/mol C and 1.1-3.8 × 10(-4) mol I/mol C (or 19-160 nmol Br L(-1) and 6-36 nmol I L(-1)) within a wide variety of natural seawater samples, compared with 0.6-1.2 × 10(-4) mol Br/mol C and 0.6-1.1 × 10(-5) mol I/mol C in terrestrial natural organic matter (NOM) isolates. Together with a chemical probe method specific for RHS, the SPE+ICP-MS approach was also employed to demonstrate formation of nanomolar levels of organobromine and organoiodine during simulated and natural solar irradiation of DOM in artificial and natural seawaters. In a typical experiment, the organobromine content of 2.1 × 10(-4) mol C L(-1) (2.5 mg C L(-1)) of Suwannee River NOM in artificial seawater increased by 69% (from 5.9 × 10(-5) to 1.0 × 10(-4) mol Br/mol C) during exposure to 24 h of simulated sunlight. Increasing I(-) concentrations (up to 2.0 × 10(-7) mol L(-1)) promoted increases of up to 460% in organoiodine content (from 8.5 × 10(-6) to 4.8 × 10(-5) mol I/mol C) at the expense of organobromine formation under the same conditions. The results reported herein suggest that sunlight-driven reactions of RHS with DOM may play a significant role in marine bromine and iodine cycling.

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