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Surfactants in the Sea Surface Microlayer, Underlying Water and Atmospheric Particles of Tropical Coastal Ecosystems

Abstract

This study aims to determine the composition of surfactants in the sea surface microlayer (SML), underlying water (ULW) and atmospheric particles (AP). Surfactants were determined colorimetrically as methylene blue active substances (MBAS) and disulphine blue active substances (DBAS) for anionic and cationic surfactants, respectively. The concentration of dissolved inorganic nutrients (DIN) in ULW was determined so as to indicate the influence of ULW to the surfactants in SML. The results showed that the concentration of MBAS and DBAS in SML at both stations ranged between 0.05 and 0.31 μmol L−1, and between 0.19 and 0.59 μmol L−1, respectively. Surfactants in ULW influence the concentration of surfactants in SML (r = 0.65, p < 0.01, n = 36). The station influenced by anthropogenic sources showed a higher concentration of surfactants in ULW, SML and AP. This finding suggests fine mode atmospheric particles (FMAP) are the main carrier for anionic surfactants as MBAS in the coastal ecosystem. Anionic surfactants as MBAS were found as better indicator of anthropogenic sources than cationic ones.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia for their logistical support during sampling. Special thanks to K. Alexander who helped proofread this manuscript.

Funding

This work was supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) under E-Science Fund 04-01-02-SF1259 research grant and the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Research University Grant (AP-2015-010).

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Correspondence to Mohd Talib Latif.

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Uning, R., Latif, M.T., Yu, K.L. et al. Surfactants in the Sea Surface Microlayer, Underlying Water and Atmospheric Particles of Tropical Coastal Ecosystems. Water Air Soil Pollut 229, 305 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-018-3961-4

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Keywords

  • Anionic
  • Cationic
  • Colorimetric
  • Surface microlayer
  • Particles
  • Tropical condition