13C 12c ratios in individual fatty acids of marine mytilids with and without bacterial symbionts

Teofilo Abrajano*, D. E. Murphy, J. Fang, P. Comet, J. M. Brooks

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    131 Scopus citations


    No evidence was found for isotopic fractionation at methyl carbon during methylation of fatty acids with BF3-methanol. It is therefore possible to evaluate intermolecular carbon isotopic variations in natural fatty acids by determining the δ 13C composition of the corresponding methyl esters after derivatization. We illustrate the usefulness of the technique to the evaluation of dietary strategies of marine mytilids in two contrasting marine environments, a normal coastal Newfoundland estuarine system and a cold hydrocarbon seep benthic community from the Gulf of Mexico. Mussels from coastal Newfoundland have fatty acid δ 13C compositions of -34.4 to -24.9 0 00, whereas those from the Gulf of Mexico showed a range of -56.9 to -49.0 case:0 00. This difference is primarily ascribed to the difference in the ultimate source of Cl carbon in the two environments (CO2 in coastal Newfoundland and CH4 in the Gulf of Mexico). Differences observed in the nature of intermolecular carbon isotopic patterns of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids of mytilids from the two marine localities reflect the differences in the carbon pathways utilized by the organisms in their respective growth environments.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)611-617
    Number of pages7
    JournalOrganic Geochemistry
    Issue number6-7
    StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


    • bacterial symbionts
    • compound-specific carbon isotope analysis
    • estuary
    • fatty acids
    • hydrocarbon seep
    • methyl esters
    • mytilids

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geochemistry and Petrology


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