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Organic Compounds in Seawater

Seawater contains a wide variety of dissolved organic compounds. The total amount is low (~2 ppm) but their composition is very complex. Some of the organic compounds are resistant to decomposition and are relatively old. However, most are biologically active and are constantly being modified.

The organic content of the oceans is very important to biological life processes and the effects are much greater than might be assumed from the amount of material present. A large number of soluble compounds have been identified in seawater, including amino and organic acids and carbohydrates. (Handbook)