Distribution and cycle of arsenic compounds in the ocean

Sri Juari Santosa, Satoshi Wada, Shigeru Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In order to understand the distribution and the cycle of arsenic compounds in the marine environment, the horizontal distributions of arsenic(V) [As(V)], arsenic(III) [As(III)], monomethylarsonic acid (MMAA) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMAA) in the Indian Pacific Oceanic surface waters have been investigated. This took place during cruises of the boat Shirase from Tokyo to the Syowa Station (15 November–19 December 1990), of the tanker Japan Violet from Sakai to Fujayrah (28 July–17 August 1991) and of the boat Hakuho‐maru from Tokyo to Auckland (19 September–27 October 1992). Vertical distributions of arsenic in the west Pacific Ocean have also been investigated. The concentration of As(V) was found to be relatively higher in the Antarctic than in the other areas. Its concentration varied from 340 ng dm−3 (China Sea) to 1045 ng dm−3 (Antarctic). On the other hand, the concentrations of the biologically produced species, MMAA and DMAA, were extremely low in the Antarctic and southwest Pacific waters. Their concentrations in Antarctic waters were 8 ng dm−3 and 22 ng dm−3 and those in the southwest Pacific were 12 ng dm−3 and 25 ng dm−3. In the other regions the concentration varied from 16 ng dm−3 (China Sea) to 36 ng dm−3 (north Indian Ocean) for MMAA and from 50 ng dm−3 (east Indian Ocean) to 172 ng dm−3 (north Indian Ocean) for DMAA. As a result, with the exception of Antarctic and southwest Pacific waters, the percentages of each arsenic species in the surface waters were very similar and varied from 52% (east Indian Ocean) to 63% (northwest Pacific Ocean) for As(V), from 22% (northwest Pacific Ocean) to 27% (east Indian Ocean) for As(III) and from 15% (northwest Pacific Ocean) to 21% (north and east Indian Oceans) for the methylated arsenics (MMAA+DMAA). These percentages in Antarctic waters were 97%, 0.2% and 2.8%, respectively, and those in the southwest Pacific Ocean were 97% for As(V)+As(III) and 3% for MMAA+DMAA. The very low concentrations of the biologically produced species in Antarctic waters and that of methylated arsenic in southwest Pacific waters indicated that the microorganism communities in these oceans was dominated by microorganisms having a low affinity towards arsenic. Furthermore, microorganism activity in the Antarctic was also limited due to the much lower temperature of the seawater there. The vertical profile of inorganic arsenic was 1350 ng dm−3 in surface waters, 1500 ng dm−3 in bottom waters with a maximum value of 1700 ng dm−3 at a depth of about 2000 m in west Pacific waters. This fact suggested the uptake of arsenic by microorganisms in the surface waters and the co‐precipitation of arsenic with hydrated heavy‐metal oxides in bottom waters. The suggested uptake of inorganic arsenic and subsequent methylation was also supported by the profile of DMAA, with a high concentration of about 26 ng dm−3 in surface water and a significant decrease to a value of 9 ng dm−3 at a depth of 1000 m.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-283
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Organometallic Chemistry
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1994

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • arsenic cycle
  • arsenic distribution
  • As(III)
  • As(V)
  • dimethylarsinic acid (DMAA)
  • marine arsenic compounds
  • monomethylarsonic acid (MMAA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Inorganic Chemistry

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