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First detection of triterpenyl acetates in soils: sources and potential as new palaeoenvironmental biomarkers

Abstract : Understanding past reactions of ecosystems under natural and anthropic constraints is of crucial importance to anticipate the consequences of the current global changes. Unraveling natural and anthropic impacts on environments requires the reconstruction of ancient land-uses. As a part of a larger project aiming at developing new molecular biomarkers in soils that could be specific of their overlying vegetation, we have analyzed the neutral lipid content of soils developed under distinct types of plants. Soils were sampled around Lake Aydat, in Central France, of which the catchment is covered with pastures/meadows, forests and moors. The ketone/ester lipid fraction from soils under pastures or meadows contains a series of 14 pentacyclic triterpenyl acetates with a large structural diversity (Fig. 1). This discovery motivated an extensive phytochemical literature survey (240 references) that showed restricted potential sources of triterpenyl acetates. -amyrin, taraxeryl, glutinyl, -amyrin, and multiflorenyl, acetates are found in very distinct taxa and are thus poorly informative. Conversely, lupeyl, bauerenyl, isobauerenyl, taraxasteryl and -taraxasteryl acetates appear more specific since they are majoritary reported in Asteraceae. Pichierenyl, isopichierenyl and gammacerenyl acetates seem to be the more specific ones since they are produced by a single known species, Picris hieracioides L. (hawkweed oxtongue, Asteraceae).
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Marlène Lavrieux, Jérémy Jacob, Claude Le Milbeau, Jean-Robert Disnar, Renata Zocatelli, et al.. First detection of triterpenyl acetates in soils: sources and potential as new palaeoenvironmental biomarkers. IMOG : The 25th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry's, Sep 2011, Interlaken, Switzerland. 3p. ⟨insu-00864226⟩

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