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Boron - (Borum) - B

Boron occurs in nature exclusively in the form of boron compounds. With an average molar concentration of 4,16.10-4 mol/l, boron is the eighth most common element in marine water. Expressed in mass units its average concentration is 4,5.10-3 g/l (4,5 mg/l).


Version 2012-III

Boron - (Borum) - B

B

Boron occurs in nature exclusively in the form of boron compounds. With an average molar concentration of 4,16.10-4 mol/l, boron is the eighth most common element in marine water. Expressed in mass units its average concentration is 4,5.10-3 g/l (4,5 mg/l).

Occurrence

Boron occurs in marine water in two equally represented forms (H3BO3 - Boric acid and B(OH)4-). Although not widely known, boron’s contribution to the buffer capacity of marine water is surpassed only by that of carbon.

Contribution to the buffer capacity of marine water:

  • 94% Carbon – HCO3-, CO32-
  • 5% Boron – B(OH)4-
  • 1% Ostatní

Biogenous role

Current knowledge regarding boron reconfirms the conclusion that it plays an essential biogenous role; nevertheless the exact mechanisms are still not fully understood. A series of experiments was performed on cyanobacteria to study the effect of the boron concentration on the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. The observed inhibition of the activity of the nitrogenase enzyme, as well as of the growth for certain cyanobacteria species (Nodularia sp., Chlorogloeopsis sp., Nostoc sp.) was ascribed to the absence of boron. The evidence shows that the boron absence leads to negative changes in the morphology of heterocyst - specialised cells, essential for the organic fixation of atmospheric nitrogen.

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, produce their own strain through photosynthesis. They can live overland as well as in the oceans, where they participate in the nitrogen ocean cycle. Some cyanobacteria species co-exist in coral cells with Zooxanthellae, where they produce the nitrogenase enzyme.

Thanks to its capability to reduce the triple nitrogen bond, this enzyme is widely used for nitrogen fixation - it is the only way to a regressive use of molecular (atmospheric or diluted in marine water) nitrogen for live organisms. Cyanobacteria, as well as other bacteria, enter this process as symbionts, since the large majority of plants and animals do not possess the capability of fixing molecular nitrogen themselves. In order for the bacteria to produce nitrogenase, the presence of certain trace elements is essential, as for instance iron and molybdenum.

Further studies were carried out to determine the effect of concentration changes of certain trace elements - among them also boron - on corallites. The long-term test results showed clearly the direct relation between the boron concentration and coral riff growth and in this manner also with photosynthesis (Zooxanthellae, phytocysts). The maintenance of the right boron concentration in tanks with primarily hard corals is therefore essential.

Summary

Occurrence in seawater:

H3BO3 a B(OH)4-

Recommended concentration:

4,5 mg/l (4,4 – 4,8 mg/l)

Influence on:

Alkalinity (buffering capacity); Invertebrates

Biogenous role:

Coral growth

Literature

An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Sea, Michael E. Q. Pilson, Pearson Education
Boron Requirement in Cyanobacteria Its Possible Role in the Early Evolution of Photosynthetic Organisms. Ildefonso Bonilla , Mercedes Garcia-González , Pilar Mateo , Plant Physiol. 1990 Dec ;94 (4):1554-1560 16667889
Trace metals in corals--hind casting environmental chemical changes in the tropical Atlantic waters Holmes, C W, Koenig, A, Ridley, W I, Wilson, S A Eos Trans. AGU, 83(47), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract xxxxx-xx, 2002, GC21B-0157
Discovery of Symbiotic Nitrogen-Fixing Cyanobacteria in Corals Michael P. Lesser, Charles H. Mazel, Maxim Y. Gorbunov, Paul G. Falkowski

 
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