|Sinninghe Damsté, J. S., W. I. Rijpstra, M. J. L. Coolen, S. Schouten and J. K. Volkman, Rapid sulfurisation of highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) alkenes in sulfidic Holocene sediments from Ellis Fjord, Antarctica, Org. Geochem., 38(1), 128-139, 2007|
Samples of particulate organic matter from the water column and anoxic Holocene sediment layers from the Small Meromictic Basin (SMB) in Ellis Fjord (eastern Antarctica) were analyzed to study the early incorporation of reduced inorganic sulfur species into highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) alkenes. HBIs were not detected in the water column samples from austral winter, whereas compounds containing the C25 HBI skeleton were abundant in all analyzed Holocene sediment layers. The structure of the C25:2 HBI alkene together with its enriched stable carbon isotopic composition suggest that the HBI alkene is produced by a diatom or diatoms probably belonging to the Navicula genus present in the sea-ice which covers the area most of the year. Within just 500 years of deposition, all of the HBI alkene was sulfurised. A mixture of products was formed, including components tentatively identified as a C25 HBI thiane and three S-containing dimers composed of two C25:1 HBI skeletons linked together by a sulfide bond. Most of the HBI alkene, however, was converted to polar S-containing compounds. The observed reaction rate for sulfurisation the C25:2 HBI alkene is the highest observed so far in natural systems. Sterols and other lipids known to be prone to sulfurisation were only minimally sulfurised under these depositional conditions. The reason for this is presently unclear. Full text of article can be found here.