Distributions of carbohydrate species in the Gulf of Mexico Academic Article uri icon


  • In order to study the role of polysaccharides in the cycling of marine organic matter and transparent exopolymeric particles (TEP), the concentrations of total carbohydrates (p-TCHO), total uronic acids (URA) and total acid polysaccharides (APS) in suspended and sinking particles, as well as carbohydrates in the filter-passing "dissolved" phase (d-TCHO), were measured in vertical profiles along a N-S transect in the Gulf of Mexico, across a cold core (CCR) and a warm core (WCR) ring (eddy) during both July 2000 and May 2001. The concentrations of d-TCHO in 2000 ranged from 4 to 22 M C, with a subsurface maximum, which was located slightly above the depth of ch1 a maximum, amounting to, on average, 34% of DOC in the CCR, and 13% in the WCR. The concentration of particulate carbohydrates (p-TCHO) in different size fractions (0.7-10, 10-53, and >53 m) ranged from 0.04 to 1.1, 0.005 to 0.40, and 0.006 to 0.26 M C, respectively, indicating that carbohydrates are mostly concentrated in small particles (0.7-10 m). URA and APS were similarly concentrated in small particles, in which, on average, URA accounted for 87% and 57% of total URA, and APS for 92% and 88% of total APS in 2000 and 2001, respectively. URA accounted for 3-9% of carbohydrates in suspended particles, suggesting that URA are a minor component of the p-TCHO pool. Due to its surface-reactive nature, URA could play a major role in the coagulation of particles and macromolecules despite its relatively low abundance. While, on average, p-TCHO and total APS were more enriched in suspended particles than in sinking particles in both 2000 and 2001, the opposite was true for URA in both years. The greater contents of URA that are present in settling particles compared to suspended particles could indicate a mass flow in the direction of sinking particles, either caused by coagulation, by bacterial reworking of particulate and colloidal organic matter, or by their more refractory nature. 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Marine Chemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Hung, C., Guo, L., Santschi, P. H., Alvarado-Quiroz, N., & Haye, J. M.

citation count

  • 91

complete list of authors

  • Hung, Chin-Chang||Guo, Laodong||Santschi, Peter H||Alvarado-Quiroz, Nicolas||Haye, Jennifer M

publication date

  • April 2003