The University of Arizona
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Molecular, radioactive and stable carbon isotope characterization of estuarine particulate organic matter.

Luc Megens, Johannes van der Plicht, Leeuw W de


Organic matter in sediments and suspended matter is a complex mixture of constituents with different histories, sources and stabilities. To study these components in a suspended matter sample from the Ems-Dollard Estuary, we used combined molecular analysis with pyrolysis/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and stable and radioactive carbon isotope analyses of the bulk and separated chemical fractions. Carbohydrates and proteins, ca. 50% of the total organic carbon (TOC), are much younger than the bulk sample and have a somewhat higher delta (super 13) C value. Lipids and the final residue are considerably older and have lower delta (super 13) C values. The final residue, ca. 17% of the total carbon, consists mainly of aliphatic macromolecules that could be derived from algae or terrestrial plants. The delta (super 13) C value points to a marine origin.


Ems Dollard Estuary;suspended materials;particulate materials;gas chromatograms;estuarine environment;pyrolysis;total organic carbon;North Sea;fatty acids;lipids;Atlantic Ocean;North Atlantic;marine environment;Germany;mass spectra;spectra;organic acids;isotope ratios;Central Europe;Netherlands;organic compounds;Europe;Western Europe;sediments;C 14;carbon;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;C 13 C 12;stable isotopes

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