Identification and significance of 3β-ethyl steranes in sediments and petroleum

Roger E. Summons*, Robert J. Capon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)


    3β-Ethyl steranes (5a-c) occur in ancient sediments and petroleum, particularly those of Paleozoic and Proterozoic age. This newly recognised modification to the sterane ring system has no known direct counterpart in the steroid metabolism of extant organisms. When they are present in a sample the pattern of side-chain substitution and some aspects of the isomer distributions of co-occurring 3β-ethyl steranes (5a-c), 3β-methyl steranes (3a-c), 2α-methyl steranes (2a-c), and desmethyl steranes (1a-c) are similar. This suggests that these ring A-alkylated steranes are not synthesised de novo by their source organism(s) but arise via microbial modifications to sedimentary sterenes during the early stages of diagenesis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2391-2395
    Number of pages5
    JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


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