By Professor Bernard P. Tissot, Professor Dietrich H. Welte (auth.)
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Extra info for Petroleum Formation and Occurrence: A New Approach to Oil and Gas Exploration
Sterols having the same carbon number and structural arrangement, such as fucosterol, sitosterol and stigmasterol (all C 29 steroids) cannot be differentiated once they have been transformed to saturated steranes. The most important representatives of the group of tetraterpenes (C40), made from 8 isoprene units, are the carotenoid pigments. There is a large variety of carotenoid pigments in nature. Because of their similarity in structure, they are named after the most common member of this group, carotene.
Therefore, in animals and plants they are used as energy storage. Seeds, spores and fruits are especially rich in lipids. Among algae, diatoms are known to contain great quantities of lipids, sometimes up to 70% on a dry weight basis. A high lipid content results, especially if the algae grow under nitrogen-deficient conditions and in cold water. Natural waxes, such as bees' wax and plant waxes, are mixtures of various constituents. Waxes differ from fats in that glycerol is replaced by complex alcohols of the sterol series or by higher even-carbon-number aliphatic alcohols in the C 16 to C 36 range.
Summary and Conclu ion Starting in the Precambrian till the Devonian, the sole primary producer of organic matter wa marine phytoplankton. Since the Devonian an increa ing amount of primary production ha been contributed by higher terre trial plant. At present marine phytoplankton and terre trial higher plant are e timated to produce about equal amount of organic carbon. Quantitatively, the four mo t important contributo to organic matter in ediment ar phytoplankton, zooplankton, higher plant and bacteria.