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A comparative study of the hopanoid hydrocarbons in sediments of two lakes (Fuxian and Changdang) with contrasting environments

Zhang, Yongdong, Su, Yaling, Liu, Zhengwen, Yu, Jinlei, Jin, Miao
Limnologica 2019 v.76 pp. 1-10
Cyanobacteria, anthropogenic activities, bacteria, economic development, eutrophication, fishing boats, hopanoids, lakes, nutrient content, petroleum, provenance, sediments, China
Biologically configured ββ-hopanes, geologically configured αβ-hopanes and the biogenic hopenes were determined in dated sediment cores from Lake Fuxian in SW China and Lake Changdang in Eastern China in order to investigate anthropogenic influences on the abundance, composition and provenance of hopanoid hydrocarbons in lake sediments. Based on the results, hopenes were prevalent, with maximum values reaching 148.9 μg g−1 TOC in sediments of Lake Fuxian, an oligotrophic deep lake (average depth 89.6 m), where the long water column provided ample potential for the growth of hopene-producing bacteria especially the cyanobacteria. Sediment hopenes have diminished in abundance to values of 13.4–78.5 μg g−1 TOC in Lake Changdang, a eutrophic shallow (average 0.8–1.2 m) body, reflecting comparatively reduced importance of nutrient level on hopene production. Historical trends in hopenes input to the sediments of each lake are strongly dependent on nutrient status. During the last few decades, human-induced eutrophication has greatly boosted bacterial production, enhancing the accumulation of hopenes in sediments. Inputs of petroleum-derived αβ-hopanes were exceptionally high (average 71.2 μg g−1 TOC) in post-1968 sediments from Lake Changdang, their increase coinciding with the advent and acceleration of petroleum product use around the lake, in particular by fishing boats. Lake Fuxian on the other hand, has undergone slower economic development and the appearance of petroleum-derived αβ-hopanes in sediments was delayed to 1990 since when the average value has been 27.1 μg g−1 TOC. The abundance of αβ-hopanes in Lake Changdang has created a marked decrease in the relative contribution of hopenes to total hopanoids since 1968. Conversely, the amounts of αβ-hopanes introduced to Lake Fuxian since 1990 has yet to yield a clear change in the overall proportion of hopenes, but the abundance of ββ-hopanes has declined relative to total hopanoid levels for the period.