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Indirect Photodegradation of Dissolved Free Amino Acids: The Contribution of Singlet Oxygen and the Differential Reactivity of DOM from Various Sources

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journal contribution
posted on 2008-08-01, 00:00 authored by Anne L. Boreen, Betsy L. Edhlund, James B. Cotner, Kristopher McNeill
The role of photochemically generated singlet oxygen (1O2) in the DOM-sensitized degradation of eighteen dissolved free amino acids was investigated. The fraction of total sensitized degradation due to reaction with 1O2 was determined through a kinetic analysis based on a measured reaction rate constant for each amino acid coupled with measured 1O2 concentrations and was confirmed through quenching experiments. Only four of the eighteen free amino acid residues examined were found to be photolabile under environmentally relevant conditions: histidine, methionine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. The fraction of Suwannee River Humic Acid (SRHA)-sensitized degradation due to reaction with 1O2 ranged from an upper value of 110 ± 10% for histidine to 8 ± 1% for tryptophan, with 26 ± 3% contribution for methionine and 33 ± 4% for tyrosine. In addition to degradation through reaction with 1O2, other reactive intermediates involved in the SRHA-photosensitized degradation of these amino acids were identified. Methionine was thought to be additionally degraded through reaction with H2O2 and triplet excited-state DOM, and 67% of tyrosine’s indirect photodegradation was assigned to an oxygen-dependent type I photooxidation reaction. The majority of tryptophan indirect degradation was due to reaction with 3DOM. Photodegradation experiments with various DOM sources including Pony Lake (Antarctica) fulvic acid and a synthetic estuarine sample, as well as Minnesota freshwater samples (lakes Itasca, Superior, Josephine, and the St. Louis River), demonstrated distinct reactivity patterns, indicating that DOM’s 1O2-generation efficiency is not strongly coupled to its ability to promote other photooxidation pathways. These four amino acids highlight the differential photoreactivity of DOM from various sources.