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Amino acid and amino sugar transformation during sedimentation in lacustrine systems

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Carstens Doerte, Schubert Carsten J.,
Project Degradation and transformation of lacustrine organic nitrogen compounds: microbiology and biogeochemistry
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Volume (Issue) 50
Page(s) 26 - 35
Title of proceedings ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY
DOI 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2012.06.006


We compared the degradation behaviour of amino sugars (ASs) and amino acids (AAs) during sedimentation in two lakes. Concentrations of individual ASs and AAs were measured in plankton, sediment trap and sediment samples from Lake Zug (LZ; eutrophic, stratified, permanently anoxic below 170 m) and Lake Brienz (LB; oligotrophic, oxic throughout the water column). In the plankton samples AAs comprised 37–50% of the organic carbon (Corg) and 41–65% of the N. With increasing water depth the fraction of Corg and N as AAs almost halved in both lakes. At the sediment surface the contribution of AAs to the Corg pool was slightly greater, but in the sediments the proportion further decreased downwards to values of 1% of the Corg pool in LB and 8% in LZ, and 3% and 17% of the N pool, respectively. ASs contributed to a smaller extent to the planktonic organic matter (OM). Within the water column, the contribution decreased in both lakes. In contrast, in the sediments the contribution of ASs to the Corg and N pools increased slightly with depth, indicating AS accumulation. We applied degradation indices based on ASs, AAs and chlorins, which all revealed transformation with OM sedimentation. However, some indices were more sensitive to early degradation (e.g. reactivity index) and others to an intermediate level of degradation (e.g. chlorin index and non-protein AAs). Despite the different trophic status and redox conditions, the general pattern of degradation was similar in both lakes, but was more pronounced in the sediments of the eutrophic LZ.