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Microbial acetone oxidation in coastal seawater

Nightingale, Philip D.; Tarran, Glen A.; Dixon, Joanna L.; Beale, Rachael; Sargeant, Stephanie

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Philip D. Nightingale

Glen A. Tarran

Joanna L. Dixon

Rachael Beale


Acetone is an important oxygenated volatile organic compound (OVOC) in the troposphere where it influences the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere. However, the air-sea flux is not well quantified, in part due to a lack of knowledge regarding which processes control oceanic concentrations, and, specifically whether microbial oxidation to CO2 represents a significant loss process. We demonstrate that 14C labeled acetone can be used to determine microbial oxidation to 14CO2. Linear microbial rates of acetone oxidation to CO2 were observed for between 0.75-3.5 h at a seasonally eutrophic coastal station located in the western English Channel (L4). A kinetic experiment in summer at station L4 gave a Vmax of 4.1 pmol L-1 h-1, with a Km constant of 54 pM. We then used this technique to obtain microbial acetone loss rates ranging between 1.2 and 42 pmol L-1 h-1.(monthly averages) over an annual cycle at L4, with maximum rates observed during winter months. The biological turnover time of acetone (in situ concentration divided by microbial oxidation rate) in surface waters varied from ~3 days in February 2011, when in situ concentrations were 3 ± 1 nM, to >240 days in June 2011, when concentrations were more than twofold higher at 7.5 ± 0.7 nM. These relatively low marine microbial acetone oxidation rates, when normalized to in situ concentrations, suggest that marine microbes preferentially utilize other OVOCs such as methanol and acetaldehyde. © 2014 Dixon, Beale, Sargeant, Tarran and Nightingale.


Nightingale, P. D., Tarran, G. A., Dixon, J. L., Beale, R., & Sargeant, S. (2014). Microbial acetone oxidation in coastal seawater. Frontiers in Microbiology, 5(MAY),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 5, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 1, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jan 10, 2019
Journal Frontiers in Microbiology
Print ISSN 1664-302X
Electronic ISSN 1664-302X
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue MAY
Keywords bacteria, kinetics, acetone oxidation, Western English Channel (L4), radioactive labeling, seasonality,
acetone turnover
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This document is protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission.


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