Recently, four bacteriohopanepolyols (BHPs), adenosylhopane, and structurally similar adenosylhopane-type 1, 2-methyl adenosylhopane, and 2-methyl adenosylhopane-type 1, have been suggested to be characteristic of soil microbial communities and therefore can serve as molecular markers for soil organic matter (OM) supply in river, lake, and marine sediments. In this study, we analyzed BHPs in peats and soils collected in the Têt watershed (southern France) and compared them with branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs), a more established molecular tracer of soil OM. Adenosylhopane-type I is identified in all of the samples from the study area except one collected near the Têt River mouth with up to three of the related compounds also frequently present, particularly in the surface samples. The concentrations of soil-specific BHPs in peat environments have been shown to increase with lower δ15N values, providing evidence that N2-fixing bacteria are probably a major source of soil-specific BHPs in acidic environments. It seems likely that soil pH is a major factor controlling BHP occurrence based on statistical analysis of environmental parameters and BHP concentration data. The comparison of the soil-specific BHP concentrations with those of branched GDGTs shows no clear relationship in the Tt River system, supporting the concept that these two groups of soil-specific compounds are synthesized by different microbial organisms living in different niches in the soil profile (e.g., oxic top versus anoxic deep).
- bacterial membrane lipid