In the past Arie Nissenbaum has collaborated on articles with Kimitaka Kawamura and Thomas B.P Oldenburg. One of their most recent publications is High abundance of low molecular weight organic acids in hypersaline spring water associated with a salt diapir. Which was published in journal Organic Geochemistry.

More information about Arie Nissenbaum research including statistics on their citations can be found on their Copernicus Academic profile page.

Arie Nissenbaum's Articles: (9)

High abundance of low molecular weight organic acids in hypersaline spring water associated with a salt diapir

AbstractSpring waters, with a high salt content (390 g/l) and a strong pungent odor, were collected from the flanks of the Mt Sedom diapir near the Dead Sea and analyzed for low molecular weight (LMW) mono- and di-carboxylic acids, lipid class compounds and dissolved organic carbon. Concentrations of LMW carboxylic acids were found to be very high (C1–C9 monoacids: 305 mgC/l, C2–C9 diacids: 27 mgC/l). The dominant species is acetic acid (220 mgC/l) followed by propanoic (49 mgC/l), succinic (18 mgC/l) and methylpropanoic acid (11 mgC/l). These organic acids comprised major portions of dissolved organic carbon (DOC: 480 mgC/l) of the hypersaline brine: monoacids contribute 64% of DOC and diacids 5.4%. Volatile organic acids such as acetic, propanoic, butyric and valeric acids were found to be the source for the pungent smell of the spring water. These organic acids were most likely produced in a deeply buried block of the Upper Cretaceous bituminous chalks in the Dead Sea Rift Valley by thermal alteration of the organic matter and were transported upward to the surface together with connate brines along the margins of the diapir. The monoacid/diacid proportions in the brine water and the predominance of oxalate in the precipitates from the brines suggested a selective removal of dicarboxylic acids by forming organic salt precipitates such as calcium oxalate during upward transport of the brines to the surface.

Amber and the Direct Observation of Paleomicrobiota

AbstractAmber, a fossil tree resin, is known from sediments as old as the Lower Cretaceous. It is also found in all continents except Antarctica. The resin flowing down the tree trunk acts as sticky “fly paper” and captures microorganisms that are living on the trunk or are airborne. Direct microscopical observation of amber showed the presence of bacteria, cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, a cilliate, a radiolarian, and, in particular, fungi. Most microorganisms are in an excellent state of preservation and fossil amber provides the very rare opportunity to observe directly microorganisms that are at least one hundred million years old.

Molecular and isotopic characterization of organic matter in recent and sub-recent sediments from the Dead Sea☆

AbstractNear-surface sediments from two sections in the Nahal Zeelim delta of the Dead Sea (Israel) with low total organic carbon contents of 0.4–0.8% were studied by molecular and isotopic organic geochemical techniques to determine the origin of the extractable lipid components. The molecular investigation showed most of the material in this extremely hypersaline environment to be of terrestrial origin. This was indicated by a dominance of 24-ethylcholest-5-en-3β-ol and 24-ethylcholesta-5,22-dien-3β-ol in the sterol distribution as well as an abundance of angiosperm triterpenoids like β-amyrin, α-amyrin, lupeol and their oxidized derivatives. The n-alkane distribution patterns are very similar in all samples studied and typical of an origin from epicuticular waxes of higher land plants. This is corroborated by δ13C values of the n-alkanes between −28.1 and −33.6‰. The even-over-odd carbon number predominance of the long-chain fatty acids (C20–C30) and their range of δ13C values (−27.3 to −31.3‰) are also in accordance with an origin from C3 terrestrial plants. The pronounced 13C depletion of the short-chain fatty acids (C14–C18) further substantiates the dominance of terrestrial plant material in the sediments and highlights the limited importance of autochthonous biomass in the Dead Sea water. The n-alcohol distribution patterns show a strong even-over-odd carbon number preference and, compared to the n-alkanes, are enriched in 13C by 2–5‰, which suggests a small contribution of aquatic organic matter particularly to the short-chain homologues. Indications for a supply from autochthonous organisms to the sedimentary organic matter were derived from the high amounts of phytol with δ13C values between −22.8 and −19.7‰, the isotopic composition of cholesterol (−23.9 to −21.9‰) and low concentrations of 24-methyl-5α-cholest-7-en-3β-ol and 24-ethyl-5α-cholest-7-en-3β-ol. They are attributed to the only primary producer in the Dead Sea described so far, i.e. the unicellular green alga Dunaliella parva. In addition, the archaean cell walls of halophilic bacterial communities like Halorubrum sodomense are represented by significant amounts of bis-O-phytanylglycerol (−22.3 to −23.0‰).

Asphalt in iron age excavations from the Philistine Tel Miqne-Ekron city (Israel): Origin and trade routes

AbstractAsphalts found as pure lumps or coatings on potsherds were excavated at the Philistine site of Tel Miqne-Ekron (12th to 7th century BC) in the southern Inner Coastal Plain of Israel. They were studied using the techniques of petroleum geochemistry and were compared to some natural asphalts from the area: Dead Sea floating blocks (Israel), Wadi Weida’a asphalt (Jordan) and Hasbeya (Lebanon).Tel Miqne-Ekron bitumens show evidence of weathering, indicating biodegradation and oxidation. They contain less aromatics and more asphaltenes than Dead Sea asphalt. Evaporation and biodegradation are recorded at a molecular level, especially via the phenanthrenes and dibenzothiophenes. However, several isotopic and molecular parameters allowed us to correlate the Tel Miqne-Ekron asphalt with the Dead Sea asphalt from the floating blocks. The asphalts of Hasbeya and Wadi Weida’a do not match the Tel Miqne-Ekron asphalt. The latter, in particular, is much more biodegraded, based on its steranes. The study shows that the Dead Sea asphalt was imported to Tel Miqne-Ekron over a 500 year period. This trade posed no problem in the 7th century BC when Philistia, Israel and Judah were at peace as part of the Pax Assyriaca of the Assyrian Empire. However, trade during the 12th century BC is puzzling since the asphalt had to be transported across Israelite territory that was hostile to the Philistines, as indicated in the Bible (e.g., Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath). Consequently it seems that profitable commerce surpassed ethnic, religious and political conflict, as can also be observed in the contemporary world.

From the dawn of organic geochemistry (1933, 1938): Estrogenic substances in bituminous deposits and in the Dead Sea

AbstractWe describe several pioneering organic geochemical studies from the 1930s on estrogenic substances isolated from various fossil fuels and bituminous materials and from water and sediments of the Dead Sea. The techniques employed were bioanalytical and not chemical. One of the studies, although not done on the same molecular level as his, precedes the work of Alfred Treibs, who is considered the father of organic geochemistry. By shedding light on a relatively unknown chapter of organic geochemistry, the roots of this discipline are shown to extend wider than usually recognized.

An 18th century medication “Mumia vera aegyptica” – Fake or authentic?

Highlights•Tiny residue from an 18th century pharmaceutical “Mumia” vessel analysed for authenticity.•Six subsamples handpicked microscopically and analysed via CP-py-GC-MS and GC-MS.•Comprehensive molecular information gave strong evidence for authentic mummy material.•Fabric and wood fibres, embalming material, mummified tissue and Dead Sea asphalt detected.•Some compositional details resembleD mummy material from the Ptolemaic period.

A remarkable paradox: Sulfurised freshwater algal (Botryococcus braunii) lipids in an ancient hypersaline euxinic ecosystem

AbstractTwo relatively immature hypersaline sediments of Miocene/Pliocene age from the Sdom Formation, Dead Sea, Israel were studied using both GC–MS and irm–GCMS analyses. A novel series of extractable organosulfur compounds (OSC) derived from functionalised lipids of freshwater Botryococcus braunii algae races B and L were tentatively identified based on their mass spectra and Raney nickel desulfurisation products. Desulfurisation of the polar fractions released high amounts of apolar components, attributed to the major part of the macromolecular matrix being comprised of multiple sulfur-linked biomarkers derived from a limited number of highly functionalised lipids of Botryococcus. Most of the components appear to be early thermal released products and are not directly formed from sulfur incorporation into functionalised precursor lipids. One sample is mainly comprised of lipids derived from race B and possibly A and L, and the other sample is comprised of lipids derived from B. braunii races B and L. Carbon isotopic signatures of the individual biomarkers derived from the three races are widely dispersed. For example, δ values of components derived from the L race are ca. −21‰ and those from the B race are significantly enriched in 13C having values in the −10 to −13‰ range. Overall, B and L race derived components are 13–20‰ and 5–7‰, respectively, more enriched in 13C than phytoplanktonic biomarkers of marine origin. Stable carbon isotopic data of the B. braunii components point to differing bloom periods for the three races. The specific structures of the biomarkers (especially OSC) provide compelling evidence for the existence of freshwater algae in ancient hypersaline environments in a stratified water body.

Cl-37 in the Dead Sea system---preliminary results

AbstractThis study presents the first set of δ37Cl measurements in the Dead Sea environment. δ37Cl values for the meromictic (long term stratified) Dead Sea water column prior to its complete overturn in 1979 were −0.47‰ SMOC for the UWM (Upper Water Mass) and +0.55‰ SMOC for the LWM (Lower Water Mass). The δ37Cl values for the pre-overturn Dead Sea cannot be explained by the prevailing model on the evolution of the Dead Sea during the last few centuries and require corroboration by more measurements. The 1979 overturn wiped out almost completely the isotopic differences between the UWM and LWM. Even so, Cl isotope data could be used to decipher physical processes related to the overturn such as incomplete homogenization of the deep water mass. Inputs into the lake, comprising freshwaters (springs and the Jordan River) and saline springs gave a range of −0.37‰ to +1.0‰ with the freshwater sources being more enriched in δ37Cl. Based on the δ37Cl measurements of the End-Brine (the effluent from Dead Sea evaporation ponds) and of recent Dead Sea halite, the Cl isotopic composition of the originating brines have been estimated. They gave a narrow isotopic spread, +0.01‰ and +0.07‰ and fall within the same range with Dead Sea pore water (+0.13‰) and with the post-overturn Dead Sea (−0.03‰ and +0.16‰). Rock salt from Mount Sdom gave a value of −0.59‰ indicating its formation at the last stages of halite deposition from evaporating sea water. The hypersaline En Ashlag spring gave a depleted δ37Cl value of −0.32‰, corresponding to a residual brine formed in the very latest stages (including bishofite deposition) of seawater evaporation.

“…and the vale of Siddim was full of slime [= bitumen, asphalt?] pits” (Genesis, 14:10)

AbstractThe Dead Sea area has been associated with bitumen (= asphalt) for thousands of years. For this reason, it has commonly been taken for granted that pits of bitumen existed in the Dead Sea area, and into which the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fell after losing a battle in the vale of Siddim in the Dead Sea region (Genesis, 14:10). However, physical evidence for the existence of such pits is practically non-existent. At times when the Dead Sea water level is low, as it is nowadays, large expanses of black mud covered with a carbonate crust are exposed along the coast of the lake. The black mud resembles asphalt in its shiny black color and sulfurous smell. It has been sometimes assumed that the mud contains asphalt, although this is not the case, and the color and smell are due to poorly crystallized iron surfides. The solid looking carbonate veneer is quite frail and it is easy to sink through it into the underlying black mud. Thus, the biblical description may be of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fleeing through the mud flats when the lake level was low, and sinking into the black sulfurous mud.

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