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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Microbial Fatty Acid Methyl Esters As Biomarkers: Application to Provenance Determination and Sediment Transport

item Gill, Thomas
item Kennedy, Ann
item Zobeck, Teddy

Submitted to: Geological Society of America Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 3, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Soil and sediments are inhabited by communities of microbes. The composition of these communities is related to many environmental factors. Fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), complex organic molecules, are deposited on grains of soil as an "artifact" of these microbes. The different types of FAME molecules in a sample of soil can be determined by biochemical techniques, and used to separate of "fingerprint" different soils. We collected a variety of soils and sediments in the Southern High Plains, representing different types of crops, soil textures (sandy to silty), and land management practices. The FAME "fingerprints" were determined for each sample, and analyzed statistically. We found that different locations, soil textures, tillage practices, and types of crops grown on a soil resulted in distinctly different FAME "fingerprints". We are using these "fingerprints" to better determine the sources of airborne soil in dust storms near Lubbock, Texas.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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