Hydrogen peroxide production rates in clean and polluted coastal marine waters of the mediterranean red and Baltic seas

Barak Herut, Efrat Shoham-Frider, Nurit Kress, Ulrich Fiedler, Dror L. Angel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The main aim of this study was to assess the hydrogen peroxide (HP) production rates (HPPR) related to anthropogenic pollution in coastal waters by laboratory and field experiments. HPPR's were assessed by simultaneous measurements of HP concentrations, cumulative solar UV irradiation and dissolved organic matter (DOM) fluorescence in the seawater samples at clean and polluted sites in the Mediterranean, Red and the Baltic Seas. The natural HP concentrations at all sites (8 - 100 nM) fall within the normal range recorded elsewhere, and follows a diurnal pattern. The polluted stations in the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas showed higher HPPR (3.2 - 16.6 nM m2 W-1 h-1) than the clean stations, while in the Red Sea no significant differences were found because the station that was considered a priori polluted was actually rather clean (2 - 3 nM m2 W-1 h-1). Laboratory experiments demonstrated that HPPR was positively linearly correlated to DOM fluorescence, however, this relationship was not found in the natural seawater samples examined in the field. The lack of relationship between HPPR and DOM in the field was attributed to enzymatic breakdown of HP as observed in dark decay experiments. HP dark decay rates were highest in polluted stations, probably due to larger bacterioplankton populations in these samples. Moreover, the HP dark decay rates were much lower in filtered than in non-filtered samples. Sun incubation of filtered (0.2 μm) seawater samples were performed to assess whether elimination of particles would yield higher HPPRs than in non-filtered samples. In the Baltic Sea (low UV irradiation) HPPR was higher in the filtered samples, while at sites with relatively high UV irradiation (Mediterranean and Red Seas), filtration of seawater did not stimulate HPPRs, probably due to UV-damage to planktonic microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)994-1003
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Coastal
  • DOM fluorescence
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Pollution
  • Seawater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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