The fat that matters: Soil food web analysis using fatty acids and their carbon stable isotope signature

Ruess, Liliane; Chamberlain, Paul M.. 2010 The fat that matters: Soil food web analysis using fatty acids and their carbon stable isotope signature. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 42. 1898-1910.

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Chemical taxonomy based upon the composition of lipids is widely applied to investigate microbial communities and fatty acids have recently been employed to connect soil microbial and faunal food webs as well as to elucidate functional groups at higher trophic levels. The additional use of compound-specific isotopic analysis of 13C/12C ratios in fatty acids allows assessing specific trophic links and belowground carbon fluxes. In this review systematic patterns and processes underlying variations in the composition of fatty acids and their 13C/12C ratio are described. The emphasis is on biomarker fatty acids, their incorporation and modification, effects of pool size, and analytical methods. Further development of the application of fatty acid profiling to soil ecology should include both advances in experimental research and growth of theory. Accordingly, areas in which future experimentation can lead to progress in soil food web analysis are identified. Overall, combining fatty acid biomarker and their isotopic ratios will allow detailed insight into belowground trophic interactions.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 1 - Monitoring and Interpretation of Biogeochemical and Climate Changes > BGC - 1.3 - Quantify & attribute changes in biogeochemiical cycles ...
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
ISSN: 0038-0717
Additional Keywords: food web, biochemical markers, lipids, compound-specific analysis, methods
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 07 Oct 2010 13:16 +0 (UTC)

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