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Production of colloidal organic carbon and trace metals by phytoplankton decomposition

By Wen-xiong Wang and Laodong Guo


Colloids are important intermediates and can considerably influence the biogeochemical cycling of organic carbon and trace metals in aquatic systems. Previous studies have determined the release of carbon and trace elements from decomposing phytoplankton debris, but the degradation of biogenic particles to colloids and their significance in metal and carbon cycling remain unknown. In this study, we measured the release of carbon and trace elements (Cd, Cr, Se, and Zn) from the debris of two phytoplankton (diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana, and dinoflagellate Prorocentrum minimum) into a colloidal phase (operationally defined as 5 kDa–0.2 mm). In general, Cd, Se, and Zn were released at a faster rate and Cr was released at a slower rate than the release of C from the decomposing debris into the dissolved phase (,0.2 mm). Release of trace metals appeared to closely follow C release. The release rate coefficients of Cd, Cr, Se, Zn, and C in the two phytoplankton debris with microbial addition were 1.67–1.68 d21 for Cd, 0.147–0.239 d21 for Cr, 0.712–0.845 d21 for Se, 0.765–1.14 d21 for Zn, and 0.443–0.512 d21 for C. The percentages of trace elements (Cr, Se, Zn) and C associated with the colloidal phase were relatively high within the first 5 d of decomposition. After 5 d, the fraction of colloidal trace elements in the,0.2-mm dissolved phas

Year: 2014
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