The distribution of biogenic thiols in surface waters of Galveston Bay Academic Article uri icon


  • Thiolic compounds are important metal-complexing ligands as well as important components of the global sulfur biogeochemical cycle. A lack of information on the concentration and distribution of thiols in natural waters, especially in the dissolved fraction, is still a major impediment to a complete understanding of the role of thiols in these biogeochemical processes. The concentrations of dissolved, colloidal, and particulate thiols were measured along a salinity gradient in estuarine waters off of Galveston Bay, Texas. The majority of thiols were present in the dissolved fraction, although more thiolic species were detected in the particulate phase. Dissolved glutathione was present at higher concentrations (0.23 to 6.23 nM) than was the particulate glutathione (0.094 to 0.72 nM). Most γ-glutamylcysteine was present in the particulate phase, with concentrations as high as 2.24 nM in the middle of the estuary. Phytochelatin-2 was ubiquitous in surface waters, with chlorophyll a-normalized concentrations of up to 6.3 μmol g Chl a-1. A major thiol peak was present in Lower Galveston Bay and a minor peak in Upper Galveston Bay, and in both regions, 5-6 mol of γ-glutamylcysteine were produced per mole of glutathione. This bimodal distribution indicates in situ production of thiols from two different phytoplankton communities in Galveston Bay during this period.

author list (cited authors)

  • Tang, D., Hung, C., Warnken, K. W., & Santschi, P. H.

citation count

  • 66

publication date

  • September 2000