Schmidt, F et al. (2011): Sediment and organic matter properties, and molecular formula from sampling locations in the Northern Black Sea. doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.767386, Supplement to:Schmidt, Frauke; Koch, Boris P; Elvert, Marcus; Schmidt, Gunnar; Witt, Matthias; Hinrichs, Kai-Uwe (2011): Diagenetic transformation of dissolved organic nitrogen compounds under contrasting sedimentary redox conditions in the Black Sea. Environmental Science & Technology, 45(12), 5223-5229, doi:10.1021/es2003414
Remineralization of organic matter in reactive marine sediments releases nutrients and dissolved organic matter (DOM) into the ocean. Here we focused on the molecular-level characterization of DOM by high-resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) in sediment pore waters and bottom waters from contrasting redox regimes in the northern Black Sea with particular emphasis on nitrogen-bearing compounds to derive an improved understanding of the molecular transformations involved in nitrogen release. The number of nitrogen-bearing molecules is generally higher in pore waters than in bottom waters. This suggests intensified degradation of nitrogen-bearing precursor molecules such as proteins in anoxic sediments: No significant difference was observed between sediments deposited under oxic vs anoxic conditions (average O/C ratios of 0.55) suggesting that the different organic matter quality induced by contrasting redox conditions does not impact protein diagenesis in the subseafloor. Compounds in the pore waters were on average larger, less oxygenated, and had a higher number of unsaturations. Applying a mathematical model, we could show that the assemblages of nitrogen-bearing molecular formulas are potential products of proteinaceous material that was transformed by the following reactions: (a) hydrolysis and deamination, both reducing the molecular size and nitrogen content of the products and intermediates; (b) oxidation and hydration of the intermediates; and (c) methylation and dehydration.