A possible chlorophycean affinity of some Neoproterozoic acritarchs

K Arouri, PF Greenwood, MR Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Citations (Scopus)


Two taxa of Neoproterozoic acritarchs of unknown affinity, Multifronsphaeridium pelorium and Species A, are analysed by electron microscopic (SEM, TEM) and chemical (micro-FTIR, pyrolysis GC-MS, thermal desorption-MS) methods. Both acritarch species are characterised by multi-branched processes and a remnant trilaminar sheath (TLS) structure. The TLS-bearing wall structures in these acritarchs suggest a possible biological affinity to chlorophyte algaenan. The molecular data obtained from the two acritarchs were generally similar and also consistent with a chlorophycean affinity. A significant aliphatic moiety is evident in these acritarchs as a short-chain series of n-alkene/alkane pyrolysates and prominent aliphatic IR bands. The restricted molecular-weight range (<C-20) of the n-alkene/alkane doublets and the lack of isoprenoid and other branched alkanes in the pyrolysates suggest a low degree of branching in the aliphatic component of these acritarch macromolecules. The significant methyl (CH3) IR signal was attributed to the terminal groups of short ir-alkyl moieties. Alkylbenzenes, alkylphenols and alkylindoles were also significant pyrolysis products, indicating an aromatic component, although the latter two components may be attributed to artificially- and/or diagenetically-formed melanoidin moieties. The macromolecular structure of Multifronsphaeridium sp. and Species A consists of short n-alkylpolymethylenic chains, probably linked via ether/ester bonds, with possibly a small aromatic content. This study presents ultrastructural and molecular evidence of a genetic relationship between Neoproterozoic acritarchs and Chlorophyceae. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1323-1337
Number of pages15
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralian Organic Geochemistry Conference - CANBERRA, Australia
Duration: 28 Sep 199830 Sep 1998

Cite this