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J Chromatogr A. 2010 May 21;1217(21):3538-46. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2010.03.038. Epub 2010 Mar 27.

Biomarkers in a peat deposit in Northern Spain (Huelga de Bayas, Asturias) as proxy for climate variation.

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1
Instituto Nacional del Carbón (CSIC), c/Francisco Pintado Fe 26, 33011 Oviedo, Spain.

Abstract

Peatlands are peculiar ecosystems in which well-adapted communities grow and develop, recording the variation in climate and hydrological conditions inland. In addition necromass is well preserved and therefore peatlands can be used as palaeo-archives for environmental variation. In this work a peat core of depth 60 cm dated at the bottom of the peat deposit as ca. 250cal AD from Huelga de Bayas (Asturias, Northern Spain) was studied to a resolution of 2-4 cm to investigate the evolution of the environmental conditions in the area. Samples were extracted with a dichloromethane/methanol ratio of 3:1 and studied by means of gas chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (GC-MS) in order to identify possible biomarkers of climatic variation during the period of peat formation. Lipid biomarker study allows the identification of periods in which Sphagnum or higher plants preferentially contributed to the peat profile. The absolute dating of the profile combined with the n-alkane record displayed five episodes of wetter conditions around ca. 250 cal AD (Roman Warm Period), 1080 and 1270 cal AD (Medieval Warm Period), 1460 cal AD (Little Ice Age) and 1920 cal AD (Recent warming), which are consistent with climate evolution in the region. Pentacyclic triterpenoids with hopane skeleton derived from microorganisms and with oleanane skeleton derived from higher plants were identified. The presence of their ketone and acetyl-derivatives, along with the presence of unstable hopane configurations indicates a low maturity of the peat profile. A tendency for the functionalised triterpenoids to decrease with depth was observed in the profile.

PMID:
20399440
DOI:
10.1016/j.chroma.2010.03.038
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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