Title: Investigation of amino acid d13C signatures in bone collagen to reconstruct human palaeodiets using liquid chromatography–isotope ratio mass spectrometry
Authors: Choy, Kyungcheol ×
Smith, Colin I.
Fuller, Benjamin
Richards, Michael P. #
Issue Date: Nov-2010
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Series Title: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta vol:74 issue:21 pages:6093-6111
Abstract: This research presents the individual amino acid d13C values in bone collagen of humans (n = 9) and animals (n = 27) from
two prehistoric shell midden sites in Korea. We obtained complete baseline separation of 16 of the 18 amino acids found in
bone collagen by using liquid chromatography–isotope ratio mass spectrometry (LC–IRMS). The isotopic results reveal that
the humans and animals in the two sites had similar patterns in essential amino acids (EAAs) and non-essential amino acids
(NEAAs). The EAA and NEAA d13C values in humans are intermediate between those in marine and terrestrial animals.
However, the threonine d13C values in humans and animals measured in this study are more highly enriched than those of
other amino acids. At both sites, all amino acids in marine animals are 13C-enriched relative to those of the terrestrial animals.
The isotopic evidence suggests that the Tongsamdong human had EAAs and NEAAs from marine food resources, while the
Nukdo humans mainly had EAAs from terrestrial food resources but obtained NEAAs from both terrestrial and marine
resources. The d13C isotopic differences in amino acids between marine and terrestrial animals were the largest for glycine
(NEAA) and histidine (EAA) and the smallest for tyrosine (NEAA) and phenylalanine (EAA). In addition, threonine among
the EAAs also had a large difference (8&) in d13C values between marine and terrestrial animals, and has the potential to be
used as an isotopic marker in palaeodietary studies. Threonine d13C values were used in conjunction with the established
D13CGlycine–phenylalanine values and produced three distinct dietary groups (terrestrial, omnivorous, and marine). In addition,
threonine d13C values and D13CSerine–phenylalanine values were discovered to separate between two dietary groups (terrestrial
vs. marine), and these d13C values may provide a potential new indicator for investigating the distinction between marine
and terrestrial protein sources in human diets.
ISSN: 0016-7037
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation Section
Laboratory for Animal Biodiversity and Systematics (-)
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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