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Bacteriohopanepolyol biomarker composition of organic matter exported to the Arctic Ocean by seven of the major Arctic rivers

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Martin Cooke, Dr Helen Talbot


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Bacteriohopanepolyols (BHPs) are a diverse group of membrane lipids produced by a wide variety of bacteria and can be used as molecular biomarkers for bacterial processes and populations in both modern and ancient environments. A group of BHPs, including adenosylhopane and structurally related compounds, have been identified as being specific to soils, enabling the transport of terrestrial organic matter (terrOM) to the marine realm to be monitored. Estuary surface sediment samples were obtained from the five Great Russian Arctic Rivers (GRARs: Ob, Yenisey, Lena, Indigirka and Kolyma) and river sediments were obtained from two North American Rivers (Yukon and Mackenzie). Analysis of the BHP signatures, using high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MSn), indicated the presence of 15 different BHPs originating from a variety of different bacteria, as well as a significant presence of terrestrially derived OM. Total BHP abundance and the contribution of the "soil-marker" BHPs to the total BHP pool increased eastwards among the GRAR sediments. This suggests increasing terrestrial OM or increased preservation of OM as a result of shorter periods of permafrost thawing. The North American rivers showed greatly differing BHP levels between the Yukon and Mackenzie rivers, with a greater BHP input and thus a relatively higher soil OM contribution from the Yukon. The Indigirka River basin in the eastern Siberian Arctic appeared to be the epicentre in the pan-Arctic BHP distribution trend, with the highest "soil-marker" BHPs but the lowest tetrafunctionalised BHPs. Aminobacteriohopanepentol, an indicator of aerobic methane oxidation, was observed in all the sediments, with the source being either the marine environment or methane producing terrestrial environments. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cooke MP, van Dongen BE, Talbot HM, Semiletov I, Shakhova N, Guo L, Gustafsson O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Organic Geochemistry

Year: 2009

Volume: 40

Issue: 11

Pages: 1151-1159

ISSN (print): 0146-6380

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5290

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2009.07.014


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Funder referenceFunder name
Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Far-Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (FEBRAS)
04-05-64819Russian Foundation for Basic Research
2002-057Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research
621-2004-4039Swedish Research Council
629-2002-2309Swedish Research Council
EAR 0554781NSF
NA17RJ1224University Alaska Fair-banks
OPP 0436179NSF