In order to determine terrestrial contributions to the organic matter pool in the marine environment, a reliable chemical tracer is required. Lignin, an abundant component of vascular plant tissue is often used as such. In this study the lignin moiety of both fresh and degraded tissue of the model halophyte Spartina anglica was purified and chemically characterized to investigate its suitability as tracer. The study can be split into three parts. In the first part several enzymatic lignin purifications of fresh S. anglica tissue were compared with each other. In the second part pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry was applied to analyse untreated and on-line methylated milled wood lignin preparations. The previous characterizations of the lignin moiety of S. anglica were used in the third part to monitor modifications in the chemical composition induced by natural aerobic decomposition in the field.

Org. Geochem.

Klap, V. A., Boon, J. J., Hemminga, M. A., & van Soelen, J. (1998). Chemical characterization of lignin preparations of fresh and decomposing Spartina anglica by pyrolysis mass spectrometry. Org. Geochem., 28, 707–727.