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Boiteau, RM, Till CP, Ruacho A, Bundy RM, Hawco NJ, McKenna AM, Barbeau KA, Bruland KW, Saito MA, Repeta DJ.  2016.  Structural characterization of natural nickel and copper binding ligands along the US GEOTRACES Eastern Pacific Zonal Transect. Frontiers in Marine Science. 3:243.   10.3389/fmars.2016.00243   Abstract

Organic ligands form strong complexes with many trace elements in seawater. Various metals can compete for the same ligand chelation sites, and the final speciation of bound metals is determined by relative binding affinities, concentrations of binding sites, uncomplexed metal concentrations, and association/dissociation kinetics. Different ligands have a wide range of metal affinities and specificities. However, the chemical composition of these ligands in the marine environment remains poorly constrained, which has hindered progress in modeling marine metal speciation. In this study, we detected and characterized natural ligands that bind copper (Cu) and nickel (Ni) in the eastern South Pacific Ocean with liquid chromatography tandem inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LC-ICPMS), and high resolution electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESIMS). Dissolved Cu, Ni, and ligand concentrations were highest near the coast. Chromatographically unresolved polar compounds dominated ligands isolated near the coast by solid phase extraction. Offshore, metal and ligand concentrations decreased, but several new ligands appeared. One major ligand was detected that bound both Cu2+ and Ni2+. Based on accurate mass and fragmentation measurements, this compound has a molecular formula of [C20H21N4O8S2 + M]+ (M = metal isotope) and contains several azole-like metal binding groups. Additional lipophilic Ni complexes were also present only in oligotrophic waters, with masses of 649, 698, and 712 m/z (corresponding to the 58Ni metal complex). Molecular formulae of [C32H54N3O6S2Ni]+ and [C33H56N3O6S2Ni]+ were determined for two of these compounds. Addition of Cu and Ni to the samples also revealed the presence of additional compounds that can bind both Ni and Cu. Although these specific compounds represent a small fraction of the total dissolved Cu and Ni pool, they highlight the compositional diversity and spatial heterogeneity of marine Ni and Cu ligands, as well as variability in the extent to which different metals in the same environment compete for ligand binding.

Bundy, RM, Barbeau KA, Buck KN.  2013.  Sources of strong copper-binding ligands in Antarctic Peninsula surface waters. Deep-Sea Research Part Ii-Topical Studies in Oceanography. 90:134-146.   10.1016/j.dsr2.2012.07.023   AbstractWebsite

Copper-binding organic ligands were measured during austral winter in surface waters around the Antarctic Peninsula using competitive ligand exchange-adsorptive cathodic stripping voltammetry with multiple analytical windows. Samples were collected from four distinct water masses including the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current Front, Bransfield Strait, and the shelf region of the Antarctic Peninsula. Strong copper-binding organic ligands were detected in each water mass. The strongest copper-binding ligands were detected at the highest competition strength in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, with an average conditional stability constant of logK(CuL,Cu2+)(cond) = 16.00 +/- 0.82. The weakest ligands were found at the lowest competition strength in the shelf region with logK(CuL,Cu2+)(cond) = 12.68 +/- 0.48. No ligands with stability constants less than logK(CuL,Cu2+)(cond) = 13.5 were detected in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current at any competition strength, suggesting a shelf source of weaker copper-binding ligands. Free, hydrated copper ion concentrations, the biologically available form of dissolved copper, were less than 10(-14) M in all samples, approaching levels that may be limiting for some types of inducible iron acquisition. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.