National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2020

Unique solid phase microextraction sampler reveals distinctive biogeochemical profiles among various deep-sea hydrothermal vents

Grandy, J.J., B. Onat, V. Tunnicliffe, D.A. Butterfield, and J. Pawliszyn

Sci. Rep., 10, 1360, doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-58418-4, View online (2020)

Current methods for biochemical and biogeochemical analysis of the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems rely on water sample recovery, or in situ analysis using underwater instruments with limited range of analyte detection and limited sensitivity. Even in cases where large quantities of sample are recovered, labile dissolved organic compounds may not be detected due to time delays between sampling and preservation. Here, we present a novel approach for in situ extraction of organic compounds from hydrothermal vent fluids through a unique solid phase microextraction (SPME) sampler. These samplers were deployed to sample effluent of vents on sulphide chimneys, located on Axial Seamount in the North-East Pacific, in the Urashima field on the southern Mariana back-arc, and at the Hafa Adai site in the central Mariana back-arc. Among the compounds that were extracted, a wide range of unique organic compounds, including labile dissolved organic sulfur compounds, were detected through high-resolution LC-MS/MS, among which were biomarkers of anammox bacteria, fungi, and lower animals. This report is the first to show that SPME can contribute to a broader understanding of deep sea ecology and biogeochemical cycles in hydrothermal vent ecosystems.

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