Biochemical and stable carbon isotope records of mangrove derived organic matter in the sediment cores

  • M. N. ManjuEmail author
  • P. Resmi
  • C. S. Ratheesh Kumar
  • T. R. Gireeshkumar
  • N. Chandramohanakumar
  • Manju Mary Joseph
Original Article


Core sediments from five mangrove ecosystems along northern Kerala Coast were collected to evaluate the nature and sources of organic matter in these ecosystems. General sedimentary parameters (pH, Eh, grain size and total organic carbon) and biochemical constituents (carbohydrate, lipid and protein) were analysed. The protein-to-carbohydrate ratio and lipid-to-carbohydrate ratio were calculated to assess the quality of organic matter in core sediments. Higher concentrations of biochemical components were recorded in surface sediments, with a dominance of carbohydrates followed by lipids and proteins. Protein/carbohydrate ratio was found to be <1 in the entire study region indicating a large content of aged and/or non-living organic matter in mangrove sediments. This also confirms the involvement of heterotrophic microorganisms in the organic carbon dynamics of the study area. The bulk elemental ratio (total organic carbon/total nitrogen) varied between 11.39 and 24.14 in the study region, recording minimum value at Kunjimangalam and maximum at Pappinissery. Samples from Kadalundi recorded low total organic carbon/total nitrogen ratio throughout the core, indicated a marine signature. Stable carbon isotopic ratio (−29.19 to −23.87 ‰) in the sediments suggested the dominance of terrestrially derived organic matter. Principal component analysis revealed that mangrove litter addition, diagenesis and accumulation of organic matter on fine grained sediments are the major processes controlling the distribution of the parameters in the study area.


Core sediment Mangrove Biochemical components Stable carbon isotopic ratio Principal component analysis 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the facilities and the support provided by the Dean and Director, School of Marine Sciences, Cochin University of Science and Technology. We are thankful to Dr. Aninda Sarkar, Professor, IIT Kharagpur, for the stable carbon isotope analysis of total organic matter in sediment samples. We also acknowledge the financial support rendered by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MOES), Government of India and Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), Government of Kerala, for the financial assistance to carry out the research work. The first author acknowledges the University Grant provided by Cochin University of Science and Technology for first 2 years and fellowship provided by Department of Science and Technology- Promoting University Research for Scientific Excellence (DST-PURSE) for another 2 years. We extend our sincere thanks to the anonymous reviewers for giving constructive comments.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. N. Manju
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Resmi
    • 1
  • C. S. Ratheesh Kumar
    • 2
  • T. R. Gireeshkumar
    • 3
  • N. Chandramohanakumar
    • 4
  • Manju Mary Joseph
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Oceanography, School of Marine SciencesCochin University of Science and TechnologyKochiIndia
  2. 2.Chemical Examiner’s Laboratory, HeadquartersThiruvananthapuramIndia
  3. 3.National Institute of Oceanography, Regional CentreKochiIndia
  4. 4.Inter University Centre for Development of Marine BiotechnologyCochin University of Science and TechnologyKochiIndia

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