Any of a class of saturated polycyclic hydrocarbons that are found in crude oils and are derived from the sterols of ancient organisms.
- This biomarker group is, like the steranes, characterized by numerous maturity-sensitive stereoisomers.
- But because steranes are commonly degraded by bacteria, they are of limited use.
- Contrary to expectation, the relative abundance of steranes seems to be lower than that of the hopanoids, with the variety of hopanoid structures greatly outnumbering those of the steranes.
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