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Short-chain n-alkanes (C16-20) in ancient soil are useful molecular markers for prehistoric biomass burning

Title data

Eckmeier, Eileen ; Wiesenberg, Guido L. B.:
Short-chain n-alkanes (C16-20) in ancient soil are useful molecular markers for prehistoric biomass burning.
In: Journal of Archaeological Science. Vol. 36 (2009) Issue 7 . - pp. 1590-1596.
ISSN 0305-4403
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2009.03.021

Abstract in another language

The incorporation of plant biomass into soil usually leads to long-chain n-alkanes with a relative predominance of odd carbon numbered homologues. Contrastingly, an increase in short-chain even carbon numbered n-alkanes was found in charred biomass with progressing temperatures. We applied lipid analysis to buried ancient topsoils that contained charred organic matter and to corresponding control soils, which were characterized by a lighter color and lower contents of charred materials. Commonly, the proportion of lipid extracts was found to be lower in the ancient soil than in the control samples, which indicated an enhanced degradation of organic matter, e.g. by thermal degradation. All samples displayed a particular pattern of short-chain and even carbon numbered n-alkanes (maximum at n-C16 or n-C18). The ratios CPI (carbon preference index) and ACL (average chain length) for the investigated soil samples matched the ratios found for maize and rye straw charred at 400° or 500 °C, respectively. These molecular ratios indicate the presence of charred biomass. The predominance of short-chain and even carbon numbered n-alkanes was a result of thermal degradation of biomass. The degradation products were preserved in ancient soils and could be applied as molecular markers in archaeological or palaeoenvironmental research.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER65954
Institutions of the University: Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2015 06:23
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2015 06:23
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/17033