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Mark Lever

Distribution and isotopic composition of trimethylamine, dimethylsulfide and dimethylsulfoniopropionate in marine sediments

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  • Guang-Chao Zhuang, Univ Bremen, University of Bremen, MARUM Ctr Marine Environm Sci, Organ Geochem Grp
  • ,
  • Yu-Shih Lin, Natl Sun Yat Sen Univ, National Sun Yat Sen University, Dept Oceanog
  • ,
  • Marshall W. Bowles, Louisiana Univ Marine Consortium Lumcon
  • ,
  • Verena B. Heuer, Univ Bremen, University of Bremen, MARUM Ctr Marine Environm Sci, Organ Geochem Grp
  • ,
  • Mark A. Lever
  • Marcus Elvert, Univ Bremen, University of Bremen, MARUM Ctr Marine Environm Sci, Organ Geochem Grp
  • ,
  • Kai-Uwe Hinrichs, Univ Bremen, University of Bremen, MARUM Ctr Marine Environm Sci, Organ Geochem Grp

Methylated amines and sulfides are ubiquitous organic nitrogen and sulfur compounds in the marine environment and could serve as important energy substrates to methanogens inhabiting anoxic sediments. However, their abundance and isotopic values remain largely unconstrained in marine sediments. In this study, we investigated the distribution of trimethylamine (TMA), dimethylsulfide (DMS) and dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) in Aarhus Bay, Denmark and provided the first report for their stable carbon isotopic composition. Simultaneous measurement of those two compounds in small volumes of pore waters and sediments was accomplished with gas chromatography in combination with either a purge and trap system for quantification or a headspace method for carbon isotopic analysis. TMA in the solid phase (exchangeable pool, 0.3-6.6 mu mol kg(-1) wet sediment; base-extractable pool, 2-18 mu mol kg(-1)) was much more abundant than the dissolved pool (<20 nM), indicating strong adsorption of TMA to sediments. Likewise, total base-hydrolyzable DMS(P)t (including DMS and base-released DMS from DMSP) in sediment was at least three orders of magnitude higher (11-65 mu mol kg(-1)) than the dissolved pool of DMS(P)d in the pore water (including DMS and dissolved DMSP; 1-12 nM). TMA and DMS(P) contents in the solid phase peaked in the surface sediment, consistent with their phytodetrital origin. TMA was more C-13-depleted than DMS(P) (TMA: - 36.4 parts per thousand to - 39.2 parts per thousand; DMS: - 18.6 parts per thousand to - 23.4 parts per thousand), presumably due to different biological or biosynthetic origins of the respective methyl groups. Both compounds showed a downcore decrease in their solid-phase concentration, a feature that was attributed to microbial degradation, but progressive enrichment in C-13 (up to 4 parts per thousand) with depth was observed only for DMS(P). The considerable pool size of TMA and DMS(P) outlined in this study and geochemical evidence of their degradability suggested these two compounds could be potentially important substrates for methane production in sulfate-reducing environments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Chemistry
Volume196
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
ISSN0304-4203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2017

    Research areas

  • Trimethylamine, DMS, DMSP, Stable isotope, Methane production, Methylotrophic methanogenesis, Marine sediment, SALT-MARSH SEDIMENTS, METHYLATED SULFUR-COMPOUNDS, AARHUS BAY, SULFATE REDUCTION, ALIPHATIC-AMINES, ANOXIC MARINE, METHANOGENIC BACTERIA, ESTUARINE SEDIMENTS, ANAEROBIC OXIDATION, METHANE PRODUCTION

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