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Assessing production of the ubiquitous archaeal diglycosyl tetraether lipids in marine subsurface sediment using intramolecular stable isotope probing

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Elvert,  M.
Department of Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Holler,  T.
Department of Microbiology, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Lin, Y. S., Lipp, J. S., Elvert, M., Holler, T., & Hinrichs, K. U. (2013). Assessing production of the ubiquitous archaeal diglycosyl tetraether lipids in marine subsurface sediment using intramolecular stable isotope probing. Environmental Microbiology, 15(5 Sp. Iss. SI), 1634-1646.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-C6D2-2
Abstract
The membrane lipids diglycosyl-glycerol dibiphytanyl glycerol tetraethers (2G-GDGTs) in marine subsurface sediments are believed to originate from uncultivated benthic archaea, yet the production of 2G-GDGTs from subseafloor samples has not been demonstrated in vitro. In order to validate sedimentary biosynthesis of 2G-GDGTs, we performed a stable carbon isotope probing experiment on a subseafloor sample with six different 13C-labelled substrates (bicarbonate, methane, acetate, leucine, glucose and Spirulina platensis biomass). After 468 days of anoxic incubation, only glucose and S.platensis resulted in label uptake in lipid moieties of 2G-GDGTs, indicating incorporation of carbon from these organic substrates. The hydrophobic moieties of 2G-GDGTs showed minimal label incorporation, with up to 4 parts per thousand 13C enrichment detected in crenarchaeol-derived tricyclic biphytane from the S.platensis-supplemented slurries. The 2G-GDGT-derived glucose or glycerol moieties also showed 13C incorporation (13C=1838 parts per thousand) in the incubations with glucose or S.platensis, consistent with a lipid salvage mechanism utilized by marine benthic archaea to produce new 2G-GDGTs. The production rates were nevertheless rather slow, even when labile organic matter was supplied. The 2G-GDGT turnover times of 170020500 years were much longer than those estimated for subseafloor microbial communities, implying that sedimentary 2G-GDGTs as biomarkers of benthic archaea are cumulative records of past and present generations.