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Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Margarita Jambrina-Enríquez; Caterina Rodríguez de Vera; Javier Davara; Antonio V. Herrera-Herrera; Carolina Mallol
Publication Date: July 2023

Different types of plant tissues and resin can account for the wax lipids found in sedimentary contexts and archaeological samples. Consequently, there is increasing research to characterize the fatty acid carbon isotope ratios of different plant anatomical parts and their plant exudates (resin). With the aim to explore isotopic differences between plant tissues, state of the fine organic matter, effect of thermal degradation, and to identify plant residues we measured the δ13C values of short-chain fatty acids (δ13C16:0 and δ13C18:0) in: i) dead and fresh (collected and immediately dried) pine needles and branches (Pinus canariensis) and pine resin from laboratory-controlled heating experiments and ii) sediment and charred pine tissue samples from a wild pine forest fire. Our results are compared to previously published experimental open-air fire experiments and pine-fuelled archaeological combustion features. We found that for both fatty acid types, there are differences in δ13C signatures among anatomical parts and initial moisture content. These data allow us to characterize the isotopic signature of pine tissue and the effect of degradation on isotopic biomarkers, as well as to estimate combustion temperatures in pine-fuelled anthropogenic fires.


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Citation: Jambrina-Enríquez, Margarita; Rodríguez de Vera, Caterina; Davara, Javier; Herrera-Herrera, Antonio V.; Mallol, Carolina. 2023. Compound-specific carbon isotope analysis of short-chain fatty acids from Pine tissues: characterizing paleo-fire residues and plant exudates. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 15:114.

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  • anthropogenic combustion
  • black layers
  • degradation of wood
  • lipid biomarkers
  • organic geochemistry
  • organic residue analysis
  • pine biomarkers
  • pine resin
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 68845