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Variation in δD values of a single, species‐specific molecular biomarker: a study of miliacin throughout a field of broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum L.)

Abstract : Compound‐specific δDanalyses of land plant‐derived biomarkers preserved in lake sediments are gaining increasing interest in paleoclimatic studies because of their potential to record essential information on the climatic conditions that prevailed at the time of their synthesis. The accuracy of inferences about climate from these analyses could be better constrained with more study of the variability in the δD values of possible inputs at catchment scales. We measured the δD values of miliacin (olean‐18‐en‐3β‐ol methyl ether) extracted from the seeds of millet plants collected in 21 stands spatially distributed in a field with visually heterogeneous soil organic matter contents. The use of a single molecular biomarker extracted from a single plant species eliminates the possibility of variability caused by differences in plant type. The δD values differed between plants by as much as 50‰and the average δD values per stand differed from one another by a maximum of 30‰. Thus, the δD values of a single, species‐specific biomarker can vary markedly among plants even within a similar climate. Differences in δD values within stands could be as high as between stands, suggesting that the δD values are not related to macroscale heterogeneities in soil organic matter content. In addition, δD values were unrelated to factors indicative of differences in environment such as plant height, seed weight or miliacin concentration. The average miliacin δD value was representative of the area sampled, however, since it was normally distributed (p < 0.05).
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Nicolas Bossard, Jérémy Jacob, Claude Le Milbeau, Elisabeth Lallier-Vergès, Valery T. Terwilliger, et al.. Variation in δD values of a single, species‐specific molecular biomarker: a study of miliacin throughout a field of broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum L.). Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Wiley, 2011, 25, pp.1-9. ⟨10.1002/rcm.5092⟩. ⟨insu-00602348⟩

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