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International Journal of Analytical Chemistry
Volume 2010, Article ID 502076, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/502076
Research Article

Occurrence and Sources of Triterpenoid Methyl Ethers and Acetates in Sediments of the Cross-River System, Southeast Nigeria

1Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, University of Calabar, P.M.B. 1115 Calabar, Nigeria
2Consultant 72 Marina Lakes Drive, Richmond, CA 94804, USA
3Department of Chemistry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
4COGER, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia

Received 6 November 2009; Revised 18 January 2010; Accepted 19 January 2010

Academic Editor: Peter A. Tanner

Copyright © 2010 Orok E. Oyo-Ita et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Pentacyclic triterpenol methyl ethers (PTMEs), germanicol methyl ether (miliacin), 3-methoxyfern-9(11)-ene (arundoin), -amyrin methyl ether (iso-sawamilletin), and 3-methoxytaraxer-14-ene (sawamilletin or crusgallin) were characterized in surface sediments of the Cross-River system using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Triterpenol esters (mainly - and -amyrinyl acetates and hexanoates, and lupeyl acetate and hexanoate) were also found. These distinct compounds are useful for assessing diagenesis that can occur during river transport of organic detritus. Poaceae, mainly Gramineae and Elaeis guineensis higher plant species, are proposed as primary sources for the PTMEs and esters in the sediments. PTMEs are biomarkers of specific higher plant subspecies, while the triterpenol esters are indicators of early diagenetic alteration of higher plant detritus.