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Bacterial physiology highlighted by the δ13C fractionation of bacteriohopanetetrol isomers
Schwartz-Narbonne, R.; Schaeffer, P.; Lengger, S.K.; Blewett, J.; Martin Jones, D.; Motsch, E.; Crombie, A.; Jetten, M.S.M.; Mikkelsen, D.; Normand, P.; Nuijten, G.H.L.; Pancost, R.D.; Rush, D. (2023). Bacterial physiology highlighted by the δ13C fractionation of bacteriohopanetetrol isomers. Org. Geochem. 181: 104617.
In: Organic Geochemistry. Elsevier: Oxford; New York. ISSN 0146-6380; e-ISSN 1873-5290, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Carbon isotopes; Bacteriohopanepolyols; Anammox; Methanotroph; Bacteriohopanetetrols; Carbon-13; Lipid biomarkers; Hopanoids

Auteurs  Top 
  • Schwartz-Narbonne, R.
  • Schaeffer, P.
  • Lengger, S.K.
  • Blewett, J.
  • Martin Jones, D.
  • Motsch, E.
  • Crombie, A.
  • Jetten, M.S.M.
  • Mikkelsen, D.
  • Normand, P.
  • Nuijten, G.H.L.
  • Pancost, R.D.
  • Rush, D., meer

    Lipid biomarkers, such as the various bacteriohopanetetrol (BHT) isomers studied here, are useful tools in tracing bacterially mediated nitrogen and carbon cycle processes affecting greenhouse gas emissions, including the anaerobic oxidation of ammonia. Three BHT isomers occur commonly in the environment. By gas chromatography, BHT-34 S elutes first; it is produced by numerous bacteria. The two later eluting isomers are more constrained in their origin. The marine anammox bacteria ‘ Ca. Scalindua’ is the only known producer of a BHT isomer of unknown stereochemistry (BHT-x), making BHT- x a diagnostic biomarker in anoxic marine settings. The BHT-34 R isomer is produced by three freshwater aerobic heterotrophic producers ( Frankia spp., Acetobacter pasteurianus , and Komagataeibacter xylinus), a freshwater serine-cycle (Type II) methanotroph (Methylocella palustris), and the freshwater anammox ‘ Ca. Brocadia’, which makes the detection of freshwater anammox using BHT-34 R more complicated. We investigated whether the source of BHT-34 R in freshwater environments could be ascertained via its δ13C value. We used conventional on-column gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS) (as opposed to high temperature GC-C-IRMS) to determine the δ13C composition of acetylated BHT isomers in cultured bacteria and bacterial enrichments. We combined these with bulk biomass and substrate δ13C compositions to establish carbon isotopic fractionation factors. The two anammox genera had large fractionation factors from dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) to biomass (Δ13C biomass – DIC = –43.8 to –26.4 ‰) and to BHTs (Δ13C BHT – DIC = –53.8 to –38.2 ‰), which clearly distinguished them from the freshwater aerobic heterotrophic producers (Δ13C biomass – substrate = –2.3 to –0.1 ‰; Δ13C BHT – substrate = –12.8 to 5.2 ‰). Methylocella assimilated mainly carbon from DIC, rather than from methane, into its biomass and BHT, and previous work suggested this assimilation comes with relatively small fractionation. Thus, in peatlands, the BHT δ13C values of Methylocella would not reflect the low δ13C values of biogenic methane. Consequently, the presence of BHT-34 R with low δ13C values relates to ‘ Ca. Brocadia’ and presents a novel tool to trace anammox in freshwater environments.

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