Plant wax n-alkane and n-alkanoic acid signatures overprinted by microbial contributions and old carbon in meromictic lake sediments

Makou, M., Eglinton, T., McIntyre, C. , Montluçon, D., Antheaume, I. and Grossi, V. (2018) Plant wax n-alkane and n-alkanoic acid signatures overprinted by microbial contributions and old carbon in meromictic lake sediments. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(2), pp. 1049-1057. (doi:10.1002/2017gl076211)

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Abstract

Specific n-alkanes and n-alkanoic acids are commonly used as biomarkers in paleoenvironmental reconstruction, yet any individual homologue may originate from multiple biological sources. Here we improve source and age controls for these compounds in meromictic systems by measuring the radiocarbon (14C) ages of specific homologues preserved in twentieth century Lake Pavin (France) sediments. In contrast to many studies, 14C ages generally decreased with increasing carbon chain length, from 7.3 to 2.6 ka for the C14-C30 n-alkanoic acids and from 9.2 to 0.3 ka for the C21-C33 n-alkanes. Given a known hard water effect, these values suggest that aquatic microbial sources predominate and contributed to most of the homologues measured. Only the longest chain n-alkanes exclusively represent inputs of higher plant waxes, which were previously sequestered in soils over centennial to millennial timescales prior to transport and deposition. These findings suggest that biomarker source and age should be carefully established for lacustrine settings.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mcintyre, Dr Cameron
Authors: Makou, M., Eglinton, T., McIntyre, C., Montluçon, D., Antheaume, I., and Grossi, V.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Geophysical Research Letters
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0094-8276
ISSN (Online):1944-8007
Published Online:10 January 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 American Geophysical Union
First Published:First published in Geophysical Research Letters 45(2): 1049-1057
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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