Toxic effects of lab-grade butyl rubber stoppers on aerobicmethane oxidation

Niemann, H., Steinle, Lea, Blees, J., Bussmann, I., Treude, Tina, Krause, Stefan, Elvert, M. and Lehmann, M. (2015) Toxic effects of lab-grade butyl rubber stoppers on aerobicmethane oxidation Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 13 (1). pp. 40-52. DOI 10.1002/lom3.10005.

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Methods for measuring aerobic methane oxidation (MOx) rates in aquatic environments are often based
on the incubation of water samples, during which the consumption of methane (CH4) is monitored. Typically,
incubation vessels are sealed with butyl rubber because these elastomers are essentially impermeable for
gases. We report on the potential toxicity of five different commercially available, lab-grade butyl stoppers
on MOx activity in samples from marine and lacustrine environments. MOx rates in incubations sealed with
non-halogenated butyl were > 50% lower compared to parallel incubations with halogenated butyl rubber
stoppers, suggesting toxic effects associated with the use of the non-halogenated butyl type. Aqueous extracts
of non-halogenated butyl rubber were contaminated with high amounts of various organic compounds
including potential bactericides such as benzyltoluenes and phenylalkanes. Comparably small amounts of
organic contaminants were liberated from the halogenated butyl rubber stoppers but only two halogenated
stopper types were found that did not seem to leach any organics into the incubation medium. Furthermore,
the non-halogenated and two types of the halogenated butyl elastomers additionally leached comparably
high amounts of zinc. While the source of the apparent toxicity with the use of the non-halogenated rubber
stoppers remains elusive, our results indicate that leaching of contaminants from some butyl rubber stoppers
can severely interfere with the activity of MOx communities, highlighting the importance of testing rubber
stoppers for their respective contamination potential. The impact of leachates from butyl rubber on the
assessment of biogeochemical reaction rates other than MOx seems likely but needs to be verified.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000353555800005
Keywords: aerobic methane oxidation, MOx rates, benzyltoluenes, -phenylalkanes butyl rubber, contaminants, incubation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-MG Marine Geosystems
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1002/lom3.10005
ISSN: 1541-5856
Projects: PERGAMON, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2014 09:37
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 12:51

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