The Removal of Terrestrial Dissolved Organic Matter in Coastal Regions by Photo-Flocculation Process

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Hussain A Abdulla, Texas A & M University Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, TX, United States
The fate of terrestrial dissolved organic matter (tDOM) as it moves to open ocean was the focus of many studies for the last three decades, most of these studies were focused on three major removal processes: 1) Photochemical mineralization of tDOM (conversion to inorganic forms); 2) Microbial oxidation; and 3) Mixing-induced flocculation. Based on recent estimations, the combination of theses removal processes accounts for ~20-35% of the loss of tDOM in estuaries and coastal regions; which is far from closing the gap between the riverine fluxes of tDOM and the amount of tDOM detected in the open ocean. In a preliminary experiment to determine if photo-flocculation indeed occurs at pH values and ionic strengths found in estuaries. A 0.1-μm filtered riverine was diluted 1:1 with artificial seawater and MilliQ water to yield final salinities ranging from 0 – 15; the pH of the saline samples was ranged from 6-8. Photo-flocculation was observed for all salinities, with particles organic carbon (POC) values ranged from 3.2 to 8.5% of the original DOC. Interestingly, the composition of the Photo-flocculated particles in the saline samples was markedly different from the zero salinity samples as shown in their FT-IR spectra. The photo-flocculated particles that formed in the saline samples appear to be rich in carbohydrate and amide functionalities (protein-like), while containing insignificant deprotonated carboxylate. While the flocs that formed in freshwater (salinity zero) are richer in deprotonated carboxyl groups, and relatively depleted in carbohydrate functionality.