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Keywords:

  • Microbial biomass;
  • Community structure;
  • Fatty acid

Abstract: The Barbados trench is characterized by large fields of volcanoes and mounds located over a distance of 30 km above the northern slope of a basement ridge corresponding to an inactive transform fault. Sediments from various locations were collected and analyzed for their lipid contents. Bacterial input to the overall biomass was estimated through the analysis of phospholipid ester-linked fatty acid (PLFA) profiles and glycerol ether lipids. Results indicated a eubacterial biomass estimated to be 109cells (g dry wt)−1. Individual fatty acid profiles revealed the presence of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria common to many deep-sea sites but also a large contribution of type I and type II methanotrophs to the eubacterial biomass. The presence of methanotrophs was further supported by the analysis of specific biomarkers of these microorganisms as well as some unusual trans fatty acid isomers. Anaerobic bacteria and presumbly sulfate reducing bacteria were also present, as well as archaebacteria and primarily methanogens, as indicated by glycerol ether lipid analysis.