Indications for a ubiquitous dissolved pigment degradation product in subsurface waters of the global ocean
Introduction Conclusions References Tables Figures Back Close Full Screen / Esc Printer-friendly Version Interactive Discussion Abstract Introduction Conclusions References Tables Figures Back Close Full Screen / Esc Printer-friendly Version Interactive Discussion Abstract Measurements of light absorption by chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM) from sub-surface waters of the tropical Atlantic and Pacific showed a distinct absorption shoulder at 410-415 nm, indicating an underlying
... an underlying absorption of a pigment. A similar absorption maximum at ∼410 nm was also found in the particulate fraction and 5 is usually attributed to absorption by respiratory pigments of heterotrophic unicellular organisms. The CDOM absorption shoulder was described earlier in the Indian Ocean at 600 m depth and was related to a "deep red fluorescence" found in the same depth, i.e. in the oxygen minimum zone (Breves et al., 2003; Broenkow et al., 1983) . In our study, fluorescence measurements of pre-concentrated DOM samples 10 confirmed that the absorption at ∼410 nm was related to a specific fluorescence at 650 nm. The absorption characteristic of this specific fluorophor was examined by fluorescence emission/excitation analysis and this showed a clear excitation maximum at 415 nm (in methanol) that can explain the absorption shoulder in the CDOM spectra. The spectral characteristics of the substance found in the dissolved and particulate 15 fraction did not match with those of chlorophyll a degradation products (as found in a sample from the sea surface) but can be explained by the occurrence of respiratory pigments from heterotrophs. Combining the observations of the "deep red fluorescence" and the 410 nm-absorption shoulder suggests that there are high concentrations of a pigment degradation product (cytochrome c) in DOM of all major oceans. Most pro-20 nouncedly we found this signal in the deep chlorophyll maximum and the oxygen minimum zone of tropical regions. The origin, chemical nature, turn-over rate, and fate of this molecule is so far unknown.