The effect of pH on the uptake of zinc and cadmium in marine phytoplankton: Possible role of weak complexes

Limnology and Oceanography

In natural samples from the New Jersey coast and the Gulf of Alaska, zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd) uptake rates by phytoplankton decreased on average about 30% as pH was decreased from 8.5 to 7.9 or 7.7, and the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) increased accordingly. The underlying mechanism was explored with the model species, Thalassiosira weissflogii and Emiliania huxleyi, using ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), desferrioxamine B, phytochelatin, and cysteine as complexing agents. Experiments with single complexing agents did not reproduce the effect of pH seen in field samples, ruling out two possible mechanisms: a direct effect on the uptake machinery or down‐regulation of uptake at high PCO2.

January 2012
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