Microbial Ecology

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 226–238 | Cite as

Intact Phospholipid and Quinone Biomarkers to Assess Microbial Diversity and Redox State in Microbial Mats

  • Laura Villanueva
  • Javier del Campo
  • Ricardo Guerrero
  • Roland Geyer
Environmental Microbiology


Microbial mats are stratified microbial communities composed by highly inter-related populations and therefore are frequently chosen as model systems to study diversity and ecophysiological strategies. The present study describes an integrated approach to analyze microbial quinones and intact polar lipids (IPLs) in microbial mats within layers as thin as 500 µm by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. Quinone profiles revealed important depth-related differences in community composition in two mat systems. The higher abundance of ubiquinones, compared to menaquinones, reflected the clear predominance of microorganisms belonging to aerobic α-, β-, and γ-Proteobacteria in Ebro delta estuarine mats. Hypersaline photosynthetic Camargue mats (France) showed a predominance of menaquinone-9 at the top of the mat, which is consistent with an important contribution of facultative aerobic or anaerobic bacteria in its photic zone. Quinone indices also indicated a higher diversity of non-phototrophs and a more anaerobic character in the hypersaline mats. Besides, the dissimilarity index suggested that the samples were greatly influenced by a depth-related redox state gradient. In the analysis of IPLs, there was a predominance of phosphatidylglycerols and sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerols, the latter being an abundant biomarker of Cyanobacteria. This combined approach based on quinone and IPL analysis has proven to be a useful method to establish differences in the microbial diversity and redox state of highly structure microbial mat systems at a fine-scale level.


Microbial Community Quinone Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Menaquinones Isoprenoid Quinone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Jordi Urmeneta and Antoni Navarrete for proofreading the manuscript and for helpful discussions. We also thank Mercè Piqueras for critical reading of the manuscript. LV was recipient of a scholarship from the Spanish MECD (AP2001-0953). This research was supported by the grant CGL2005-04990/BOS from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology.

Supplementary material

248_2010_9645_MOESM1_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOC 31.5 kb)
248_2010_9645_MOESM2_ESM.ppt (146 kb)
Supplementary Figure 1 (PPT 146 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Villanueva
    • 1
    • 3
  • Javier del Campo
    • 1
    • 4
  • Ricardo Guerrero
    • 1
  • Roland Geyer
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.UFZ Centre for Environmental ResearchLeipzig-HalleGermany
  3. 3.NIOZ, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea ResearchDen Burg (Texel)The Netherlands
  4. 4.Institut de Ciencies del MarCSICBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Applied Biosystems Europe B.V. (part of Life Technologies)MSS SupportRotkreuzSwitzerland

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