Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Kathleen Painter, St. Mary's College of Maryland

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Classification of Dissolved Lipids in the Delaware Bay


In this study, dissolved lipids in the Delaware Bay were classified using the Iatroscan Thin Layer Chromatography Flame Ionization Detector. Samples were collected from 7 stations along the Delaware in June 1996. Water was filtered and DOM was separated into High Molecular Weight (1-30 KDa) and Very High Molecular Weight (>30 KDa) fractions for analysis. One important result of this study was the development of a workable method for analyzing dissolved lipids, especially phospholipids, using TLC-FID. From the data obtained, we can make several generalizations about the dissolved lipid content in the Delaware. We found that lipids occur at high and very high molecular weights and that these two fractions are usually different in their distribution. Mostly phospholipids, indicative of plant rather than animal sources, are present in the DOM. We also analyzed the lipid content of the diatom Skeletonema for comparison, and found that it may be a significant source of dissolved lipids, especially at the chlorophyll max.