alexa Compound-specific D H ratios of lipid biomarkers from sediments as a proxy for environmental and climatic conditions1
Agri and Aquaculture

Agri and Aquaculture

Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development

Author(s): Peter E Sauer, Timothy I Eglinton

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Hydrogen isotope ratios (D/H) of lipid biomarkers extracted from aquatic sediments were measured to determine whether they can be used as a proxy for D/H of environmental water. Values of δD were determined by using a recently developed isotope-ratio-monitoring gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer system (irmgcms) and were confirmed by conventional hydrogen isotopic measurements (i.e., combustion followed by reduction) on individual compounds isolated by preparative capillary gas chromatography. Diverse lipids (alkanes, n-alkanols, sterols, and pentacyclic triterpenols) were analyzed to examine hydrogen-isotopic controls on lipids of varying origin and biosynthetic pathway. For algal sterols (24-methylcholest-3β-ol, 24-ethylcholest-5,22-dien-3β-ol, and 4,23,24-trimethylcholesterol, or dinosterol), the fractionation between sedimentary lipids and environmental water was −201 ± 10‰ and was similar in both marine and freshwater sites. In a sediment from a small lake in a forested catchment, triterpenols from terrestrial sources were enriched in D by 30‰ relative to algal sterols. Apparent fractionation factors for n-alkyl lipids were smaller than those of triterpenols and were more variable, probably reflecting multiple sources for these compounds. We conclude that hydrogen-isotopic analyses of algal sterols provide a viable means of reconstructing D/H of environmental waters. Results are less ambiguous than reconstructions based on analyses of kerogen or other operationally defined organic matter fractions.

This article was published in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta and referenced in Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development

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