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  • 1.
    Gonzalez-Gaya, Belen
    et al.
    IDAEA CSIC, Spain;IQOG CSIC, Spain.
    Martinez-Varela, Alicia
    IDAEA CSIC, Spain.
    Vila-Costa, Maria
    IDAEA CSIC, Spain.
    Casal, Paulo
    IDAEA CSIC, Spain.
    Cerro-Galvez, Elena
    IDAEA CSIC, Spain.
    Berrojalbiz, Naiara
    IDAEA CSIC, Spain.
    Lundin, Daniel
    Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science.
    Vidal, Montserrat
    Univ Barcelona, Spain.
    Mompean, Carmen
    Oceanog Ctr A Coruna, Spain.
    Bode, Antonio
    Oceanog Ctr A Coruna, Spain.
    Jimenez, Begona
    IQOG CSIC, Spain.
    Dachs, Jordi
    IDAEA CSIC, Spain.
    Biodegradation as an important sink of aromatic hydrocarbons in the oceans2019In: Nature Geoscience, ISSN 1752-0894, E-ISSN 1752-0908, Vol. 12, no 2, p. 119-125+2Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Atmospheric deposition of semivolatile aromatic hydrocarbons accounts for an important input of organic matter to the surface ocean. Nevertheless, the biogeochemical cycling and sinks of semivolatile aromatic hydrocarbons in the ocean remain largely uncharacterized. Here we present measurements of 64 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in plankton and seawater from the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Southern Oceans, as well an assessment of their microbial degradation genes. Concentrations of the more hydrophobic compounds decreased when the plankton biomass was higher, consistent with the relevance of the biological pump. The mass balance for the global oceans showed that the settling fluxes of aromatic hydrocarbons in the water column were two orders of magnitude lower than the atmospheric deposition fluxes. This imbalance was high for low molecular weight hydrocarbons, such as phenanthrene and methylphenanthrenes, highly abundant in the dissolved phase. Parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were depleted to a higher degree than alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and the degradation genes for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were found to be ubiquitous in oceanic metagenomes. These observations point to a key role of biodegradation in depleting the bioavailable dissolved hydrocarbons and to the microbial degradation of atmospheric inputs of organic matter as a relevant process for the marine carbon cycle.

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