Radiotracer Experiments on Biological Volatilization of Organic Iodine from Coastal Seawaters


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Biological volatilization of iodine from seawaters was studied using a radiotracer technique. Seawater samples were incubated aerobically in serum bottles with radioactive iodide tracer (I-125), and volatile organic and inorganic iodine were collected with activated charcoal and silver wool trap, respectively. Iodine was volatilized mainly as organic iodine, and inorganic iodine volatilization was not observed. Influence of light intensity on the volatilization was determined, but no significant differences were observed under light (70,000 lux) and dark conditions. The effect of the chemical form of iodine on the volatilization was determined, and the results suggested that volatilization preferentially occurs from iodide (I-) but not from iodate (IO3-). Volatilization did not occur when the samples were autoclaved or filtered through a 0.22-mum pore size membrane filter. Incubation of the samples with antibiotics caused decreased volatilization. Conversely, enhanced volatilization was observed when the samples were incubated with yeast extract. Fifty-nine marine bacterial strains were then randomly isolated from marine environments, and their iodine-volatilizing capacities were determined. Among these, 19 strains exhibited significant capacities for volatilizing iodine. 16S ribosomal RNA gene comparisons indicated that these bacteria are members of Proteobacteria (alpha and gamma subdivisions) and Cytophaga-Flexibacter-Bacteroides group. One of the strains, strain C-19, volatilized 1 to 2% of total iodine during cultivation, and the gaseous organic iodine was identified as methyl iodide (CH3I). These results suggest that organic iodine volatilization from seawaters occurs biologically, and that marine bacteria participate in the process. Considering that volatile organic iodine emitted from the oceans causes atmospheric ozone destruction, biological iodine volatilization from seawater is of great importance. Our results also contribute to prediction of movement and diffusion of long-lived radioactive iodine (I-129) in the environment.
iodine,iodide,volatilization,bacteria,methyl iodide,ozone destruction,radioactive iodine,radiotracer experiment,16S rDNA
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