An enzyme extracted from marine red algae, Bonnemaisonia hamifera, is capable of incorporating bromine into a number of organic substrates in the pH range 5 to 8. At pH 7.3, incubation of partially purified preparations of bromoperoxidase with hydrogen peroxide, bromide ion, and 3-oxooctanoic acid leads to the formation of three volatile brominated hydrocarbons: dibromomethane, bromoform, and 1-pentyl bromide. The presence of significant quantities of halometabolites including volatile halohydrocarbons in marine organisms, ocean waters, and the upper atmosphere may result from peroxidase-catalyzed halogenation reactions.
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