, Volume 789, Issue 1, pp 7–29 | Cite as

Photo-oxidation processes, properties of DOC, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and their potential impacts on native biota and carbon cycling in the Rio Negro (Amazonia, Brazil)

  • Ora E. Johannsson
  • D. Scott Smith
  • Helen Sadauskas-Henrique
  • Giselle Cimprich
  • Chris M. Wood
  • Adalberto L. Val


Given the reported degraded nature of DOC in the Rio Negro, and low oxygen, pH, and bacterial riverine levels, we hypothesized: (1) DOC would have strong humic and fulvic acid fluorescence signals with high aromaticity and large mean molecular weight; and (2) photo-oxidation rates would be slow, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) concentrations low, producing no oxidative stress in biota. We surveyed the environment and properties of DOC and explored DOC photo-oxidation and fish sensitivity to DOC products. DOC properties were investigated using absorption and fluorescence indices and parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) of excitation–emission matrices. ROS concentrations were measured spectrophotometrically. A native fish, Hemigrammus levis, was exposed to photo-oxidizing DOC and its tissues (brain, gill, liver) assayed for changes in antioxidant and biotransformation enzymes. With respect to our hypotheses, (1) DOC was highly terrigenous, with high SAC340 values (aromaticity), high capacity to produce ROS, and high tryptophan-like fluorescence (bacterial, autochthonous signal); (2) photo-oxidation rates were appreciable, while products were related to mean UV-radiation levels (total radiation was constant). ROS levels were often higher than freshwater averages, yet fish experienced no oxidative stress. Results suggest photo-oxidation influences patterns in C-cycling, bacterial production and community dynamics between wet and dry seasons.


Photo-oxidation EEMS PARAFAC Oxidative stress Carbon cycling Anavilhanas Archipelago 



Many people have contributed to the success of this work, especially Maria de Nazaré de Paula da Silva and Vera Almeida Val who organized the expeditions and met our many requests. Others include Linda Diao—analysis of DOC samples, Rafael Duarte—assistance with the fish experiment, Gudrun De Boek—loan of her multimeter, Greg Goss—for sharing his UV data, Marcel de Paula Corrêa—for irradiance data, Sylvia Wood—maps in Fig. 1, Derek Campos—fish identification, Jeff Richards—logistical support, and Danielle McDonald—space to write at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Thank you all. Supported in Brazil by FAPEAM and CNPq through the ICT-ADAPTA grant to ALV and Ciência sem Fronteiras grant to ALV and CMW, and in Canada by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery grants to CMW and DSS. CMW was supported by the Canada Research Chairs program.

Supplementary material

10750_2016_2687_MOESM1_ESM.docx (35 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 34 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ora E. Johannsson
    • 1
  • D. Scott Smith
    • 2
  • Helen Sadauskas-Henrique
    • 3
  • Giselle Cimprich
    • 2
  • Chris M. Wood
    • 1
    • 4
  • Adalberto L. Val
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Laboratório de Ecofisiologia e Evolução MolecularInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, INPAManausBrazil
  4. 4.Department of BiologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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