Very early diagenetic processes of free, esterified and amide or glycosidically bound fatty acids and hydroxy fatty acids present in well documented samples of living and decomposing eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) were investigated. Free and esterified fatty acids decreased significantly over a period of decay of 12.5 years, although their distribution patterns were largely unchanged. Amide or glycosidically bound alpha-hydroxy fatty acids and the newly recognized alpha,beta-dihydroxy fatty acids were not degraded. Thus both, but in particular the alpha,beta-dihydroxy fatty acids, may serve as potential biomarkers for the recognition of eelgrasses in palaeoenvironments. The increasing amounts of omega-hydroxy fatty acids and alpha,omega-dicarboxylic fatty acids upon decay indicate bacterial transformations of eelgrass lipids. This bacterial action was further demonstrated by a substantial increase of amide-bound beta-hydroxy fatty acids derived from LPS of gram-negative bacteria. [KEYWORDS: Early diagenesis; seagrass; eelgrass; zostera marina l; fatty acids; hydroxy fatty acids; alpha;beta-dihydroxy fatty acids; alpha;omega-dihydroxy fatty acids Sediments; bacteria; lipids; seagrasses; mode; lake]
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Journal publication date1995

ID: 264760