Chromium uptake and adsorption in marine phytoplankton - Implications for the marine chromium cycle

Semeniuk, David; Maldonado, Maria; Jaccard, Samuel (2016). Chromium uptake and adsorption in marine phytoplankton - Implications for the marine chromium cycle. Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 184, pp. 41-54. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.gca.2016.04.021

[img] Text
Semeniuk et al., 16.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (609kB) | Request a copy

Using the radioisotope 51Cr, we investigated the controls of cellular Cr accumulation in an array of marine phytoplankton grown in environmentally relevant Cr concentrations (1–10 nM). Given the affinity of Cr(III) for amorphous Fe-hydroxide mineral surfaces, and the formation of these mineral phases on the outside of phytoplankton cells, extracellular Cr was monitored in a model diatom species (Thalassiosira weissflogii) as extracellular Fe concentrations varied. Extracellular Cr in T. weissflogii increased with increasing extracellular Fe, demonstrating that Cr may be removed from seawater via extracellular adsorption to phytoplankton. Short-term Cr(VI) and Cr(III) uptake experiments performed with T. weissflogii demonstrated that Cr(III) was the primary oxidation state adsorbing to cells and being internalized by them. Cellular Cr:C ratios (<0.5 μmol Cr mol C−1) of the eight phytoplankton species surveyed were significantly lower than previously reported Cr:C ratios in marine particles with a high biogenic component (10–300 μmol Cr mol C−1). This indicates that Cr(III) likely accumulates in marine particles due to uptake and/or adsorption. Mass balance calculations demonstrate that surface water Cr deficits can be explained via loss of Cr(III) to exported particles, thereby providing a mechanism to account for the nutrient depth profile for Cr in modern seawater. Given the large fractionation of stable Cr isotopes during Cr(VI) reduction, Cr(III) associated with exported organic carbon is likely enriched in lighter isotopes. Most sedimentary Cr isotope studies have thus far neglected internal fractionating processes in the marine Cr cycle, but our data indicate that loss of Cr to exported particles may be traced in the sedimentary d53Cr record.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Semeniuk, David and Jaccard, Samuel


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Elsevier Science




Samuel Jaccard

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2016 13:43

Last Modified:

20 Jun 2016 13:43

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback