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Examination of amino acids in particulate samples from a variety of marine environments (fresh phytoplankton to deep-sea sediments) revealed systematic compositional changes upon progressive degradation. These consistent trends have been used to derive a quantitative degradation index (DI) that is directly related to the reactivity of the organic material, as indicated by its lability to enzymatic decay and its first- order degradation rate constant. This direct link between molecular composition and degradation rate allows us to quantify the quality of organic matter based solely on its chemical composition. [KEYWORDS: Madeira-abyssal-plain; marine-environment; sugar composition; sediments; carbon; indicators; turbidite; decomposition;degradation; nitrogen]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1809-1814
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
Volume44
Issue number7
DOI
StatePublished - 1999

ID: 294169