Bacterial physiology highlighted by the δ13C fractionation of bacteriohopanetetrol isomers

SCHWARTZ-NARBONNE, Rachel, SCHAEFFER, Philippe, LENGGER, Sabine K, BLEWETT, Jerome, MARTIN JONES, D, MOTSCH, Estelle, CROMBIE, Andrew, S. M. JETTEN, Mike, MIKKELSEN, Deirdre, NORMAND, Philippe, NUIJTEN, Guylaine HL, PANCOST, Richard D and RUSH, Darci (2023). Bacterial physiology highlighted by the δ13C fractionation of bacteriohopanetetrol isomers. Organic Geochemistry: 104617.

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Lipid biomarkers, here various bacteriohopanetetrol (BHT) isomers, are useful tools in tracing bacterially mediated nitrogen and carbon cycle processes affecting greenhouse gas emissions, such as the anaerobic oxidation of ammonia. Three isomers occur commonly in the environment. By gas chromatography, BHT-34S elutes first; it is produced by numerous bacteria. The two later eluting isomers are more constrained in their origin. The marine anammox bacteria ‘Ca. Scalindua’ is the only known producer of a BHT isomer of unknown stereochemistry (BHT-x), making BHT-x a diagnostic biomarker in anoxic marine settings. The BHT-34R isomer is produced by three freshwater aerobic heterotrophic producers (Frankia spp., Acetobacter pasteurianus, and Komagataeibacter xylinus), a freshwater serine-cycle (Type II) methanotroph (Methylocella palustris), and the freshwater anammox ‘Ca. Brocadia’, which makes the detection of freshwater anammox using BHT-34R more complicated. We investigate whether the source of BHT-34R in freshwater environments can be ascertained via its δ13C value. We used conventional on-column gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS) (as opposed to high temperature GC-C-IRMS) to determine the δ13C composition of acetylated BHT isomers in cultured bacteria and bacterial enrichments. We combined these with bulk biomass and substrate δ13C compositions to establish carbon isotopic fractionation factors. The two anammox genera had large fractionation factors from dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) to biomass (Δ13Cbiomass – DIC = –43.8 to –26.4 ‰) and to BHTs (Δ13CBHT – DIC = –53.8 to –38.2 ‰), which clearly distinguished them from the freshwater aerobic heterotrophic producers (Δ13Cbiomass – substrate = –2.3 to –0.1 ‰; Δ13CBHT – substrate = –12.8 to 5.2 ‰). Methylocella assimilated mainly carbon from DIC, rather than from methane, into its biomass and BHT, and previous work suggested this assimilation comes with relatively small fractionation. Thus, in peatlands, the BHT δ13C values of Methylocella would not reflect the low δ13C values of biogenic methane. Consequently, the presence of BHT-34R with low δ13C values relates to ‘Ca. Brocadia’ and presents a novel tool to trace anammox in freshwater environments.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 03 Chemical Sciences; 04 Earth Sciences; 05 Environmental Sciences; Geochemistry & Geophysics; 34 Chemical sciences; 37 Earth sciences; 41 Environmental sciences
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 18 May 2023 16:26
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 14:46

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