University Of Tasmania

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Zinc isotope fractionation by Emiliania huxleyi cultured across a range of free zinc ion concentrations

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 04:34 authored by Samanta, M, Ellwood, MJ, Robert StrzepekRobert Strzepek

Zinc (Zn) isotope fractionation by the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi (a Tasman Sea isolate) was investigated by culturing it across a range of free Zn2+ ion concentrations (1.2 pmol L−1 to 3.2 nmol L−1), which span the natural range observed in the global oceans. Across the range of free Zn2+ ion concentrations tested, the amount of bio-available Zn did not have any appreciable influence on the specific growth rate or cell morphology of E. huxleyi. However, a suite of secondary physiological indicators reflected changes in Zn bioavailability. An increase in the photosynthetic efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) was observed with increasing free Zn2+ ion concentration. The time constants for electron transport from QA to QB and from QB to the plastoquinone (PQ) pool decreased as the free Zn2+ ion concentration increased, reflecting enhanced photosynthetic electron transport. The effect of Zn bioavailability on photosynthetic physiology was speculated to be due to increased activity of carbonic anhydrase with increasing Zn bioavailability. Zinc uptake by E. huxleyi resulted in Zn isotope fractionation and the Δ66Zncells-media ranged between −0.6‰ and −0.2‰. The major finding from this work is that the lighter Zn isotope is taken up preferentially by this coccolithophore, making the dissolved Zn composition of the surrounding seawater isotopically heavier.


Publication title

Limnology and Oceanography








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Amer Soc Limnology Oceanography

Place of publication

5400 Bosque Blvd, Ste 680, Waco, USA, Tx, 76710-4446

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)