Amino acids and carbohydrates in sediments and interstitial waters of ODP Site 112-681

Total organic carbon (TOC), dissolved organic carbon (DOC), total hydrolyzable amino acids (THAA), amino sugars (THAS), and carbohydrates (THCHO) were measured in sediments and interstitial waters from Site 681 (ODP Leg 112). TOC concentrations vary between 0.75% and 8.2% by weight of dry sediment and exhibit a general decrease with depth. DOC concentrations range from 6.1 to 49.5 mg/L, but do not correlate with TOC concentrations in the sediment. Amino compounds (AA and AS) and sugars account for 0.5% to 8% and 0.5% to 3% of TOC, respectively, while amino compounds make up between 2% and 27% of total nitrogen. Dissolved hydrolyzable amino acids (free and combined) and amino sugars were found in concentrations from 3.7 to 150 µM and from 0.1 to 3.7 µM, respectively, and together account for an average of 8.5% of DOC. Dissolved hydrolyzable carbohydrates are in the range of 6 to 49 µM. Amino acid spectra are dominated by glycine, alanine, leucine, and phenylalanine; nonproteinaceous amino acids (gamma-amino butyric acid, beta-alanine, and ornithine) are enriched in the deeper part of the section, gamma-amino butyric acid and beta-alanine are thought to be indicators of continued microbial degradation of TOC. Glycine, serine, glutamic acid, alanine, aspartic acid, and ornithine are the dominating amino compounds in the pore waters. Spectra of carbohydrates in sediments are dominated by glucose, galactose, and mannose, while dissolved sugars are dominated by glucose and fructose. In contrast to the lack of correlation between abundances of bulk TOC and DOC in corresponding interstitial waters, amino compounds and sugars do show some correlation between sediments and pore waters: A depth increase of aspartic acid, serine, glycine, and glutamic acid in the pore waters is reflected in a decrease in the sediment, while an enrichment in valine, iso-leucine, leucine, and phenylalanine in the sediment is mirrored by a decrease in the interstitial waters. The distribution of individual hexoseamines appears to be related to zones of bacterial decomposition of organic matter. Low glucoseamine to galactoseamine ratios coincide with zones of sulfate depletion in the interstitial waters.

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