, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 103-108

Marine macroalgae in polar regions as natural sources for volatile organohalogens

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Marine macroalgae species from the polar regions were investigated for their importance as natural sources of volatile halogenated compounds released into the biosphere. Several different halogenated C1 to C4 hydrocarbons were identified and their release rates determined. The compounds contained mainly bromine and iodine, and form was the dominant compound released. Although an annual atmospheric input of approximately 108−1010 g bromine and 107−108 g iodine was calculated from the release rates, marine macroalgae are apparently not the major source on a global scale, as the release is up to four orders of magnitude lower than a presumed annual flow from the oceans. Despite this, macroalgae may be more important on a local scale due to their occurrence at a high biomass in the coastal regions. The present paper gives an overview about studies done on the release of volatile halocarbons by macroalgae from polar regions. Furthermore, the function of these compounds in the macroalgal metabolism is discussed.