Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 555–567 | Cite as

Lignin degradation products as palaeoenvironmental proxies in the sediments of small lakes

  • Karol Kuliński
  • Joanna Święta-Musznicka
  • Andrzej Staniszewski
  • Janusz Pempkowiak
  • Małgorzata Latałowa
Original Paper

Abstract

The quantity and quality of lignin phenols (Σ8, Λ, S/V, C/V and (Ad/Al)v) in the sediments of three small Lobelia lakes with neither inlets nor outlets were investigated and compared with palynological data and lithology of the profiles. The method of alkaline CuO oxidation was used. Substantial differences with respect to sedimentary lignin concentration and provenance recorded along the profiles and among the sites are in good agreement with pollen data describing the dominant type of vegetation and with indices of soil erosion in the lakes’ catchments. This relation shows that the compositions of lignin degradation products in these lakes are closely related to the local environmental conditions. In all the lakes gymnosperm wood is the main source of lignin products; however, each lake is characterized by different S/V index values. Especially good correlations were obtained between pine pollen proportions in sediments and the S/V index. The correlation between the C/V and (Ad/Al)v indices indicates a higher degradation of organic matter when non-woody tissue is more abundant. This pilot study illustrates the usefulness and potential for a wider application of lignin oxidation products in palaeoecological reconstructions. This kind of data would be of special importance when investigating local presence/absence of woody plants and the role of angiosperms/gymnosperms in local vegetation. Estimates of lignin biodegradation levels, as well as the data on diagenetic processes, may afford supplementary information on possible disturbances in sedimentation.

Keywords

Palaeoecology Lake sediments Lignin degradation products Terrigenous organic matter Soil erosion Palynology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The study was performed as part of the Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences statutory activities grant no. II.2.04/5. The work done in the Laboratory of Palaeoecology and Archaeobotany, University of Gdańsk, was supported by the State Committee for Scientific Research (KBN), Poland, grant no. 3 P04F 087 23. The authors are indebted to the reviewers of the manuscript, Ph. A. Meyers and L. Schwark, for their comments.

References

  1. Binford MW (1990) Calculation and uncertainty analysis of 210Pb dates for PIRLA project lake sediment cores. J Paleolimnol 3:253–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brenner M, Hodell DA, Leyden BW, Curtis JH, Kenney WF, Gu B, Newman JM (2006) Mechanisms for organic matter and phosphorous burial in sediments of a shallow, subtropical, macrophyte-dominated lake. J Paleolimnol 35:129–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Choiński A (1991) Katalog jezior Polski, I: Pojezierze Pomorskie. Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, Poznań (Catalogue of Polish lakes, I: Pomeranian Lakeland)Google Scholar
  4. Ertel JR, Hedges JI (1984) The lignin component of humic substances: distribution among soil and sedimentary humic, fulvic and base-insoluble fractions. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 48:2065–2074CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ertel JR, Hedges JI (1985) Sources of sedimentary humic substances: vascular plant debris. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 49:2097–2107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Faegri K, Iversen J (1989) Textbook of Pollen Analysis. J Wiley & Sons, Chichester, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  7. Glaser B, Zech W (2005) Reconstruction of climate and landscape changes in a high mountain lake catchment in the Gorkha Himal, Nepal during the Late Glacial and Holocene as deduced from radiocarbon and compound—specific stable isotope analysis of terrestrial, aquatic and microbial biomarkers. Org Geochem 36:1086–1098CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Goñi MA, Hedges JI (1992) Lignin dimers: structures, distribution and potential geochemical applications. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 56:4025–4043CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gough MA, Preston M, Mantoura RF (1993) Terrestrial plant biopolymers in marine sediments. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 57:945–964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hatcher PG, Minard RD (1996) Comparison of dehydrogenase polymer (DHP) lignin with native lignin from gymnosperm wood by thermochemolysis using tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH). Org Geochem 24:593–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hautala K, Peuravuori J, Pihlaja K (1997) Estimation of origin of lignin in humic DOM by CuO—oxidation. Chemosphere 35:809–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hedges JI (1992) Global biogeochemical cycles: Progress and problems. Mar Chem 39:67–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hedges JI, Ertel JR (1982) Characterization of plant tissues by their lignin oxidation products. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 54:174–178Google Scholar
  14. Hedges JI, Ertel JR, Leopold EB (1982) Lignin geochemistry of a Late Quaternary sediment core from Lake Washington. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 46:1869–1877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hedges JI, Mann DC (1979) The characterization of plant tissues by their cupric oxide oxidation products. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 43:1803–1807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Heiri O, Lotter AF, Lemcke G (2001) Loss on ignition as a method for estimating organic and carbonate content in sediments: reproducibility and comparability of results. J Paleolimnol 25:101–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hu FS, Hedges JI, Gordon ES, Brubaker LB (1999) Lignin biomarkers and pollen in postglacial sediments of an Alaskan lake. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63:1421–1430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ishiwatari R, Uzaki M (1987) Diagenetic changes of lignin compounds in a more than 0.6 million-year-old lacustrine sediment (Lake Biwa, Japan). Geochim Cosmochim Acta 51:321–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ishiwatari R, Yamamoto S, Lemura H (2005) Lipid and lignin/cutin compounds in Lake Baikal sediments over the last 37 kyr: implications for glacial-interglacial paleoenvironmental change. Org Geochem 36:327–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jacobson GL, Bradshaw RHW (1981) The selection of sites for palaeovegetational studies. Quat Res 16:80–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lahdelma I, Oikari A (2006) Stratigraphy of wood-derived sterols in sediments historically contaminated by pulp and paper mill effluents. J Paleoelimnol 35:323–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Meyers PA (2003) Applications of organic geochemistry to paleolimnological reconstructions: a summary of examples from the Laurentian Great Lakes. Org Geochem 34:261–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Meyers PA, Teranes JL (2001) Sediment organic matter. In: Last WM, Smol JP (eds) Tracking Environmental Change Using Lake Sediments, II: Physical and Geochemical Methods. Kluwer Acad Publ, Dordrecht, pp 239–269Google Scholar
  24. Miltner A, Emeis K-C (1999) Origin and transport of terrestrial organic matter from the Oder lagoon to the Arkona Basin, Southern Baltic Sea. Org Geochem 31:57–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Miltner A, Emeis K-C (2001) Terrestrial organic matter in surface sediments of the Baltic Sea, Northwest Europe, as determined by CuO oxidation. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 65:1285–1299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Orem WH, Colman SM, Lerch HE (1997) Lignin phenols in sediments of Lake Baikal, Siberia: application to paleoenvironmental studies. Org Geochem 27:153–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pempkowiak J, Pocklington R (1983) Phenolic aldehydes as indicators of the origin of humic substances in marine environments. In: Christman RF, Gjessing ET (eds) Aquatic and terrestial humic materials. Ann Arbor Sci, Michigan, pp 371–385Google Scholar
  28. Pempkowiak J, Tylmann W, Staniszewski A, Gołębiewski R (2006) Lignin depolymerization products as biomarkers of the organic matter sedimentary record in 210Pb-137Cs dated lake sediments. Org Geochem 37:1452–1464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Reimer PJ, Baillie MGL, Bard E, Bayliss A, Beck JW, Bertrand C, Blackwell PG, Buck CE, Burr G, Cutler KB, Damon PE, Edwards RL, Fairbanks RG, Friedrich M, Guilderson TP, Hughen KA, Kromer B, McCormac FG, Manning S, Bronk Ramsey C, Reimer RW, Remmele S, Southon JR, Stuiver M, Talamo S, Taylor FW, van der Plicht J, Weyhenmeyer CE (2004) IntCal 04 terrestrial radiocarbon age calibration, 0–26 ka cal BP. Radiocarbon 46:1029–1058Google Scholar
  30. Sarkanen KV, Ludwig CH (1971) Lignins. Wiley-InterscienceGoogle Scholar
  31. Staniszewski A, Lejman A, Pempkowiak J (2001) Horizontal and vertical distribution of lignin in surface sediments of the Gdańsk Basin. Oceanologia 43:421–439Google Scholar
  32. Stockmarr J (1971) Tablets with spores used in absolute pollen analysis. Pollen et Spores 13:615–621Google Scholar
  33. Sugita S (1994) Pollen representation of vegetation in Quaternary sediments: theory and method in patchy vegetation. J Ecol 82:881–897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Święta-Musznicka J (2005) Rekonstrukcja paleoekologiczna późnoholoceńskiej historii wybranych jezior lobeliowych na tle zmian zachodzących w ich zlewniach. PhD Dissertation, University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk (Palaeoecological reconstruction of late Holocene history of selected Lobelia lakes versus changes in their catchments)Google Scholar
  35. Troels-Smith J (1955) Karakterisering af løse jordarter. Danm Geol Unders, Ser IV 4(4):1–32Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karol Kuliński
    • 1
  • Joanna Święta-Musznicka
    • 2
  • Andrzej Staniszewski
    • 1
  • Janusz Pempkowiak
    • 1
  • Małgorzata Latałowa
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of OceanologyPolish Academy of SciencesSopotPoland
  2. 2.Laboratory of Palaeoecology and Archaeobotany, Department of Plant EcologyUniversity of GdańskGdańskPoland

Personalised recommendations