Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Dissolved, particulate and sedimentary lipid compounds were analyzed in samples collected in May 1988 at three sites in the lagoon of the closed atoll of Takapoto (Tuamotu archipelago, French Polynesia). The study provides background information dealing with water quality and the nature and concentration of lipids. Non-aromatic hydrocarbons and fatty acids were isolated from lipids and analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Non-aromatic hydrocarbon concentrations did not exceed 1000 ng l-1 in water, and 2300 ng g-1 in surface sediments and are among the lowest encountered in pristine marine environments. No noticeable petroleum pollution was evidenced in the lagoon. Nevertheless, traces of petroleum-derived compounds were detected at the central site for both surface and deep water. Total fatty acid concentrations varied in the range 6.3–14.4 μg l-1 for the particulate phase and in the range 0.5–3.2 μg l-1 for the dissolved phase. The molecular fingerprints of fatty acids and hydrocarbons evidenced a predominant algal, and to a lesser extent microbial, origin of the organic matter present in water and sediments. Mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are essential components for animal metabolism, were identified in noticeable amounts in suspended matter (1.8–4.6 μg l-1), and at highly variable levels in the dissolved phase (0.08–1.21 μg l-1).
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