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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

GCAGS Transactions


Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Transactions
Vol. 42 (1992), Pages 467-472

Stable Carbon Isotopic Composition of Lipids of Hydrocarbon Seep Mussels and Whitefish, Carbon Flow Implications

Jiasong Fang, Paul A. Comet, James M. Brooks, Roger Sassen (1)


The individual fatty acids of hydrocarbon seep mussels (seep mytilid II) and whitefish exhibit very light ^dgr13C values, from -50.0^pmil to -57.9^pmil, and from -25.2^pmil to -27.1^pmil, respectively. Unsaturated fatty acids have lighter ^dgr13C than saturated ones. The variations in ^dgr13C are up to 5.1^pmil (mussel #1), 6.7^pmil (mussel #2), and 2.7^pmil (whitefish). A kinetic isotopic effect in the biosynthesis of fatty acids and intermolecular isotope fractionation during fatty acid desaturation and elongation is suggested to account for the observed distribution pattern. The systematic decrease of ^dgr13C in the order of mussel body, gill, and fatty acids, reflects the pathway of carbon flow as well as the biosynthetic locus in the mussels-bacteria system.

Fatty acids of whitefish have significantly heavier ^dgr13C compared to those of mussels, reflecting distinctly different food source of the the animals.

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