Articles | Volume 11, issue 21
Biogeosciences, 11, 6147–6157, 2014
Biogeosciences, 11, 6147–6157, 2014
Research article
13 Nov 2014
Research article | 13 Nov 2014

The fractionation of nitrogen and oxygen isotopes in macroalgae during the assimilation of nitrate

P. K. Swart et al.


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Short summary
The ratio of nitrogen-15 to nitrogen-14 of macroalgae has been termed the DNA of sewage. Higher amounts of N-15 have been suggested to indicate the influence of sewage-derived N. But what exactly does the ratio of 15N/14N record? We found that the nitrogen isotopic ratio was dependent upon not only the value in the water but also its concentration of nitrate. At low concentration there was little fractionation, but at higher values the uptake by algae left more of the N-15 in the water.
Final-revised paper