The contribution of algae to freshwater dissolved organic matter: implications for UV spectroscopic analysis

Adams, Jessica L.; Tipping, Edward; Feuchtmayr, Heidrun; Carter, Heather T.; Keenan, Patrick. 2018 The contribution of algae to freshwater dissolved organic matter: implications for UV spectroscopic analysis. Inland Waters, 8 (1). 10-21.

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Dissolved organic matter (DOM) is an important constituent of freshwater that participates in a number of key ecological and biogeochemical processes but can be problematic during water treatment. Thus, the demand for rapid and reliable monitoring is growing, and spectroscopic methods are potentially useful. A model with 3 components—2 that absorb in the ultraviolet (UV) range and are present at variable concentrations and a third that does not absorb light and is present at a low constant concentration—was previously found to yield reliable predictions of dissolved organic carbon concentration [DOC]. The model underestimated [DOC] in shallow eutrophic lakes in the Yangtze Basin, China, however, raising the possibility that DOM derived from algae might be poorly estimated, an idea supported by new data reported here for eutrophic British lakes. We estimated the extinction coefficients in the UV range of algae-derived DOM from published data on algal cultures and from new data from outdoor mesocosm experiments in which high concentrations of DOC were generated under conditions comparable to those in eutrophic freshwaters. The results demonstrate the weak UV absorbance of DOM from algae compared to DOM from terrestrial sources. A modified model, in which the third component represents algae-derived DOM present at variable concentrations, allowed contributions of such DOM to be estimated by combining the spectroscopic data with [DOC] measured by laboratory combustion. Estimated concentrations of algae-derived DOC in 77 surface freshwater samples ranged from 0 to 8.6 mg L−1, and the fraction of algae-derived DOM ranged from 0% to 100%.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 2044-2041
Additional Keywords: absorption spectroscopy, algal products, dissolved organic carbon, eutrophication, modelling
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 06 Feb 2018 14:57 +0 (UTC)

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