National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2002

Trifluoroacetate in ocean waters

Frank, H., E.H. Christoph, O. Holm-Hansen, and J.L. Bullister

Environ. Sci. Technol., 36(1), 12–15, doi: 10.1021/es0101532 (2002)

Trifluoroacetate (TFA) is a ubiquitous xenochemical presently increasing in concentration in some environmental compartments, especially in the plant biomass of industrialized countries. Direct anthropogenic emissions of TFA are probably low, and the major anthropogenic sources are most likely various TFA precursors. As TFA has been found in ocean waters from remote locations, the question arose whether it is also a naturally occurring environmental chemical. Determination of the depth dependence of TFA in the ocean water column should shed some light on this question. However, in environmental analytical studies, the risk of systematic errors can be high and may lead to wrong conclusions. Therefore, special attention has been paid to the fact that TFA is a common atmospheric pollutant in the urban environment and that contributions from sampling, storage, and transport potentially lead to artificially high TFA values. The results of the ocean water sampling campaigns indicate that TFA is a naturally occurring chemical, homogeneously distributed in ocean waters of all ages with a concentration of about 200 ng/L.

Feature Publications | Outstanding Scientific Publications

Contact Sandra Bigley |