Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 348–359 | Cite as

Alcohol compounds in Azolla imbricata and potential source implication for marine sediments

  • ShengYi Mao
  • XiaoWei ZhuEmail author
  • NengYou Wu
  • GuoDong Jia
  • YongGe Sun
  • HongXiang Guan
  • DaiDai Wu
Research Paper


This study investigated the composition of long-chain alkyl diols, triols, sec-alcohols, hydroxyl acids, and other hydroxylated compounds in Azolla imbricata and compared the organic alcohol components of Azolla filiculoides, Azolla microphylla, and South China Sea (SCS) sediments in order to investigate the possible indication of Azolla being the biological source of diols and triols in SCS sediment. Large amounts of diols, monohydroxy acids, and sec-alcohols with internal hydroxy groups at ω20 were detected in the three types of Azolla. Among these, 1,ω20-diol and ω20-hydroxy acid exhibited strong even-odd predominance distribution, whereas ω20-sec-alcohol exhibited strong odd-even predominance distribution. In addition, small amounts of diols, triols, and dihydroxy acids with internal hydroxy groups at 9, 10 or ω9, ω10 were detected, among which the chain length of C29 was predominate. Compounds having similar structures as those in Azolla reflected a similar biosynthetic pathway: ω20-hydroxy acid exhibiting even-odd predominance distribution is decarboxylated to ω20-sec-alcohol exhibiting odd-even predominance distribution and converted to 1, ω20-diol with even-odd predominance distribution by acyl reduction; ω9, ω10-hydroxy acid is converted to 1,20,21(1, ω9, ω10)-triol by acyl reduction, and then converted to 9,10-diol by hydrogenation and dehydration. The alcohol components in A. imbricata were clearly not the biological source of 1,13/1,14/1,15-C28, 30, 32 diols and 1,3,4-C27-29 triols in the SCS sediment. Certain marine diatoms might be the source of 1,14-C28, 30 diol in inshore sediment, but the biological source of diols and triols in the SCS sediment requires further investigation.


A. imbricata Long-chain alkyl diols Long-chain alkyl triols Hydroxy acids SCS sediment 


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We are very grateful to the Guangzhou Ocean Geological Survey and the CHOICE-C National Key Basic Research and Development Scheme for providing research samples. We also thank the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the State Bureau of Foreign Exports International Innovation Team Partner Project for their support. Finally, we sincerely thank the two anonymous reviewers for their detailed and constructive suggestions that have helped improve our manuscript. We also thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41303067, 41103043 & 41273022), the Chinese Academy of Sciences Knowledge Innovation Project (Grant No. KGZD-EW-301), the PetroChina-Chinese Academy of Sciences Science and Technology Cooperation Project (Grant No. 2015A-4813).


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • ShengYi Mao
    • 1
    • 6
  • XiaoWei Zhu
    • 2
    Email author
  • NengYou Wu
    • 3
  • GuoDong Jia
    • 4
  • YongGe Sun
    • 5
  • HongXiang Guan
    • 1
    • 6
  • DaiDai Wu
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Gas Hydrate, Guangzhou Institute of Energy ConversionChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Marginal Sea Geology, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.The Key Laboratory of Gas Hydrate, Ministry of Land and ResourcesQingdao Institute of Marine GeologyQingdaoChina
  4. 4.School of Ocean and Earth SciencesTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  5. 5.Department of GeosciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  6. 6.Guangzhou Center for Gas Hydrate ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesGuangzhouChina

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