Abundance and distribution of fatty acids in sediments of the South Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Xin Huang, Zhigang Zeng, Shuai Chen, Xuebo Yin, Xiaoyuan Wang, Yao Ma, Baoju Yang, Kunbo Rong, Yunchao Shu, Tao Jiang

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Sediment samples obtained from the South Mid-Atlantic Ridge were studies by gas chromatography-mass spectrometer (GC-MS) for the abundance and distributions of total fatty acids (TFAs). Approximately 34 fatty acids were identified, with the chain-lengths ranging from C12 to C30. The total concentrations of TFAs (ΣTFA) ranged from 7.15 to 30.09 μg g−1 dry sediment, and ΣTFA was weakly correlated with bitumen content (R2 = 0.69). The ΣTFA of samples around hydrothermal areas were significantly higher than that of samples away from hydrothermal areas, indicating intense primary production and large biomass in the hydrothermal areas, and suggesting a close relationship between hydrothermal activity and ΣTFA of samples. The characteristics of the TFA composition in the present study are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and lacking in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and the ratios between the concentrations of monounsaturated fatty acids and ΣTFAs in samples close to the hydrothermal areas, are about 0.8, but for samples far from the hydrothermal areas, they are only about 0.5. Several fatty acids (e.g., a/iC15:0 and C16:1ω7), which are signature biomarkers for sulfur-metabolizing bacteria, show the same distribution trend as ΣTFA of samples, further highlighting the close relationship between fatty acid content and hydrothermal activity and/or hydrothermal communities. The metabolic activities of hydrothermal communities, especially those of microorganisms, are likely the main source of fatty acids in samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Ocean University of China
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • fatty acids
  • hydrothermal activity
  • microorganism
  • sediment
  • South Mid-Atlantic Ridge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ocean Engineering


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