Identification of a novel alkenone in Black Sea sediments

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Authors: L. Xu, C.M. Reddy, J.W. Farrington, G.S. Frysinger, R.B. Gaines, C.G. Johnson, R.K. Nelson, T.I. Eglinton


We report the identification of a novel long-chain ketone in Holocene Black Sea sediments. Based on chemical properties, and chromatographic and mass spectrometric characteristics, this compound has been identified as a di-unsaturated C36 ethyl ketone. Further analyses indicated the position and configuration of the double bonds, and the novel alkenone was determined to be hexatriaconta-(16E,21E)-dien-3-one. While this compound is present in only trace quantities in Unit I sediments, it is the most abundant alkenone in portions of Unit II. Its presence thus apparently pre-dates the invasion of Emiliania huxleyi in the Black Sea. The down-core profiles and isotopic compositions suggest that the precursor for the C36:2 alkenone may be distinct from that of the C37-39 alkenones, however the biological origin of this novel compound is presently unknown.

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