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Steroids ketones in surface sediments from the south-west African shelf

Naturevolume 277pages287289 (1979) | Download Citation

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Abstract

STEROIDS are a class of biologically produced compounds which may serve as tracers for the transformation processes of labile organic matter in sediments. Diagenetic alteration of steroid alcohols (sterols) by geochemical and biological processes often leads to the accumulation of transformed products in the sediments. By elucidating these structures and determining their concentrations we should be able to determine their reaction mechanisms and rates of degradation. We have previously postulated that steroid ketones (stanones) are intermediates in the diagenesis of sterols to sterenes, a group of unsaturated steroids detected in some marine sediments1 (Fig. 1). We report here the isolation, identification, and geochemical significance of a series of 4-methyl stanones and their 4-desmethyl counterparts from anoxic surface sediments in an upwelling zone on the south-west Africumelf, Walvis Bay, RSA. To our knowledge, this is the first report of stanones being observed in Recent marine sediments, although 4α-methyl stanones have been reported previously as major components of the immature Messel oil shale2.

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  1. Department of Chemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, 02543

    • ROBERT B. GAGOSIAN
    •  & STEVEN O. SMITH

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https://doi.org/10.1038/277287a0

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