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Bacteriohopanetetrol-x: constraining its application as a lipid biomarker for marine anammox using the water column oxygen gradient of the Benguela upwelling system
van Kemenade, Z.R.; Villanueva, L.; Hopmans, E.C.; Kraal, P.; Witte, H.J.; Sinninghe Damsté, J.S.; Rush, D. (2022). Bacteriohopanetetrol-x: constraining its application as a lipid biomarker for marine anammox using the water column oxygen gradient of the Benguela upwelling system. Biogeosciences 19(1): 201-221.
In: Gattuso, J.P.; Kesselmeier, J. (Ed.) Biogeosciences. Copernicus Publications: Göttingen. ISSN 1726-4170; e-ISSN 1726-4189, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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    Brak water

Auteurs  Top 
  • van Kemenade, Z.R., meer
  • Villanueva, L., meer
  • Hopmans, E.C., meer
  • Kraal, P., meer
  • Witte, H.J., meer
  • Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., meer
  • Rush, D., meer


    Interpreting lipid biomarkers in the sediment archive requires a good understanding of their application and limitations in modern systems. Recently it was discovered that marine bacteria performing anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox), belonging to the genus Ca. Scalindua, uniquely synthesize a stereoisomer of bacteriohopanetetrol (“BHT-x”). The ratio of BHT-x over total bacteriohopanetetrol (BHT, ubiquitously synthesized by diverse bacteria) has been suggested as a proxy for water column anoxia. As BHT has been found in sediments over 50 Myr old, BHT-x has the potential to complement and extend the sedimentary biomarker record of marine anammox, conventionally constructed using ladderane lipids. Yet, little is known about the distribution of BHT-x in relation to the distribution of ladderanes and to the genetic evidence of Ca. Scalindua in modern marine systems. Here, we investigate the distribution of BHT-x and the application of the BHT-x ratio in relation to distributions ofladderane intact polar lipids (IPLs), ladderane fatty acids (FAs) and Ca. Scalindua 16S rRNA genes in suspended particulate matter (SPM) from the water column of the Benguela upwelling system (BUS), sampled across a large oxygen gradient. In BUS SPM, high BHT-x abundances were restricted to the oxygen-deficient zone on the continental shelf (at [O2] < 45 µmol L−1, in all but one case).High BHT-x abundances co-occurred with high abundances of the Ca. Scalindua 16S rRNA gene (relative to the total number ofbacterial 16S rRNA genes) and ladderane IPLs. At shelf stations with [O 2] > 50 µmol L−1, the BHT-x ratio was < 0.04 (in all but one case). In apparent contradiction, ladderane FAs and low abundances of BHT and BHT-x (resulting in BHT-x ratios > 0.04) were also detectedin oxygenated offshore waters ([O2] up to 180 µmol L −1), whereas ladderane IPLs were undetected. The index of ladderane lipids with five cyclobutane rings (NL5) correlates with in situ temperature. NL5-derived temperatures suggested that ladderane FAs in the offshore waters were not synthesized in situ but were transported down-slope from warmer shelf waters. Thus, in sedimentary archives of systems with known lateral organic matter transport, such as the BUS, relative BHT and BHT-x abundances should be carefully considered. In such systems, a higher BHT-x ratio may act as a safer threshold for deoxygenation and/or Ca. Scalindua presence: our results and previous studies indicate that a BHT-x ratio of≥ 0.2 is a robust threshold for oxygen-depleted waters ([O2]  < 50 µmol kg−1). In our data, ratios of ≥ 0.2coincided with Ca. Scalindua 16S rRNA genes in all samples ( n=62), except one. Lastly, when investigating in situ anammox, we highlight the importance of using ladderane IPLs over BHT-x and/or ladderane FAs; these latter compounds are more recalcitrant and may derive from transported fossil anammox bacteria remnants.

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