Background electrolytes affect calcite precipitation and dissolution rates and hence have the potential to impact kinetic isotope fractionation between calcite and the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) species. We grew inorganic calcite from NaCl-CaCl2solutions (T = 25 °C, pH = 8.3, and crystal growth rate = 10 −6.3 ± 0.3 mol m−2 s−1) to test for potential ionic strength effects on the oxygen isotope fractionation between calcite and an isotopically equilibrated inorganic carbon pool (αc/EIC). Calcite was grown in the presence of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase from bovine erythrocytes (bCA) to promote isotopic equilibration of the DIC pool.
No evidence of an ionic strength effect on αc/EIC was found forNaCl concentrations up to 0.35 M (1000lnαc/w = 28.0 ± 0.1; n = 7). For experiments conducted with [NaCl] > 0.35 M, the DIC pool could not be maintained in isotopic equilibrium with water due to the inhibitory effect of NaCl on bCA. The use of other types of CA may be required to maintain isotopic equilibration of DIC in solution with ionic strength close to or above that of seawater.
The oxygen isotope results were modeled successfully with an isotopic box model for a CO2-fed solution that tracks the isotopic composition of each DIC species and CaCO3. The experimental and modeling results suggest that the efficacy of bCA decreases exponentially withincreasing [NaCl]. We quantify the salt effect on the quantity k cat/KM, which relates the catalyzed rate constant for CO2 hydration to the concentration of bCA. The salt effect can be implemented in models of biomineralization with potential to extend our knowledge of oxygen isotope vital effects in marine organisms.