The University of Arizona

Δ14C and δ13C Variations in Organic Fractions of Baltic Sea Sediments

Galina Lujanienė, Jonas Mažeika, Hong-Chun Li, Rimantas Petrošius, Rūta Barisevičiūtė, Kęstutis Jokšas, Nijolė Remeikaitė-Nikienė, Vitalijus Malejevas, Galina Garnaga, Algirdas Stankevičius, Ieva Kulakauskaitė, Pavel P Povinec


This article investigates variations of Δ14C and δ13C of total organic carbon (TOC) in sediments as well as in humic acids, lipid, and phospholipid fractions isolated from the surface (0–3 cm) sediment samples collected in the Curonian Lagoon and in the Baltic Sea. This study was performed to estimate relative contributions of the marine and terrestrial inputs to organic carbon in sediments, to assess a possible effect of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination on radiocarbon signatures, and to elucidate a possible leakage of chemical warfare agents (CWA) at the Gotland Deep dumpsite. Depleted Δ14C values of the TOC (down to –453‰) and of the total lipid extracts (down to –812.4‰) were detected at the CWA dumpsite. Application of the compound-specific method indicated a possible effect of CWA on depleted Δ14C and δ13C values in the investigated organic carbon fractions. The obtained results have indicated the different origin and behavior of lipids and TOC at the CWA dumpsite as compared to the area affected by the terrestrial-freshwater OC input. The Δ14C data of the TOC and total lipid extracts showed that recent sediments at the CWA dumpsite contain an excess of fossil carbon capable of influencing the 14C dating at the site.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18358


Baltic Sea; sediments; Δ14C; δ13C; humic acids; lipid fractions; phospholipid-derived fatty acids; chemical warfare agents

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