The use of biomarkers in combination with stable isotope analysis is a new approach in microbial ecology and a number of papers on a variety of subjects have appeared. We will first discuss the techniques for analysing stable isotopes in biomarkers, primarily gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry, and then describe a number of applications in microbial ecology based on degreesC. Natural abundance isotope ratios of biomarkers can be used to study organic matter Sources milised by microorganisms in complex ecosystems and for identifying specific groups of bacteria like methanotrophs. Addition of labelled substrates in combination with biomarker analysis enables direct identification of microbes involved in specific processes and also allows for the incorporation of bacteria into food web studies. We believe that the full potential of the technique in microbial ecology has just started to be exploited. [KEYWORDS: biomarker; phospholipid-derived fatty acid; stable isotope analysis; gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry; C-13 natural abundance; C-13 labelling]
Original languageEnglish
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Journal publication date2002

ID: 366765