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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME - Vol. 73 No. 2 - Feature article
Proposed methylphosphonate (MPn) production-decomposition pathway in the ocean. Yellow arrows denote the hypothesized preferred pathway.

del Valle DA, Karl DM


Aerobic production of methane from dissolved water-column methylphosphonate and sinking particles in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre


Methylphosphonate (MPn) has been proposed as a methane precursor that may help explain the frequently observed supersaturation of methane in the surface ocean. In the oligotrophic North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, del Valle and Karl found that production of methane in the water column from free, dissolved MPn was slow and not sufficient to explain observed methane concentrations, although this process was stimulated by addition of nitrate or iron. In contrast, they found significant production of methane from dissolved MPn in sinking particles. This study suggests that sinking particles may play an important role in the production of methane from MPn.


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