Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Hopanes, Geological Record of

  • Jennifer Eigenbrode
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_734-3


Hopanes is a class of pentacyclic compounds derived from bacteriohopanepolyols (hopanoids) via diagenetic degradation and thermal maturation. The hopane structure is a saturated hydrocarbon (Fig. 1). Hopanes are molecular fossils of bacterial lipids that serve to adjust membrane permeability and fluidity as well as other adaptation to extreme habitats. Some hopanoids and derived hopanes are regarded as specific to certain groups of bacteria, such as 2-methyl hopanoids from photosynthetic bacteria ( cyanobacteria and purple sulfur bacteria) and 3-methylhopanoids from Type I aerobic methylotrophic bacteria.


Geological History Saturated Hydrocarbon Photosynthetic Bacterium Geological Record Depositional Setting 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA