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Hydrocarbons generated by hydropyrolysis of suspended marine particulate organic matter: Relationship to the oceanography of the Black Sea and the Rhodes Gyre

Coban-Yildiz, Y. and Gaines, A.F. and Keating, P.E. and Love, G.D. and McLoughlin, D. and Snape, Colin (2009) Hydrocarbons generated by hydropyrolysis of suspended marine particulate organic matter: Relationship to the oceanography of the Black Sea and the Rhodes Gyre. Organic Geochemistry, 40 (2). pp. 270-282. ISSN 0146-6380

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Abstract

The suspended particulate organic matter, SPOM, in the autumnal Black Sea has been characterised using catalytic hydropyrolysis (HyPy) of the total (bound plus free) lipid material. The technique, which generates maximum yields of volatile products from sediments, kerogens and phytoplankton, was followed using gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The generated alkanes were dominated by n-C18, hypothesised to arise predominantly from unsaturated C18 fatty acids. Steranes were generated from reductive conversion of free and bound sterols. The generation of branched alkanes and especially of hopanes provided formal evidence for the participation of bacteria in the mineralisation of the SPOM. Whereas similar distributions of n-alkanes were generated from SPOM sampled from different depths of the comparatively well-stirred Rhodes Gyre (eastern Mediterranean), mineralisation of the SPOM at each depth of the central Black Sea produced characteristic changes in the composition and concentration of the HyPy products. Depth profiles of the n-alkanes generated from SPOM in the region of the Rim Current were affected by the local hydrography. Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) of anthropogenic origin were present in the surface waters of the central Black Sea. Some methyl benzenes, thiophenes and pyrroles were also generated.