Anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) has been recognized as a major process resulting in loss of fixed inorganic nitrogen in the marine environment. Ladderane lipids, membrane lipids unique to anammox bacteria, have been used as markers for the detection of anammox in marine settings. However, the fate of ladderane lipids after sediment burial and maturation is unknown. In this study, anammox bacterial cell material was artificially matured by hydrous pyrolysis at constant temperatures ranging from 120 to 365 ??C for 72 h to study the stability of ladderane lipids during progressive dia- and catagenesis. HPLC-MS/MS analysis revealed that structural alterations of ladderane lipids already occurred at 120 ??C. At temperatures >140 ??C, ladderane lipids were absent and only more thermally stable products could be detected, i.e., ladderane derivatives in which some of the cyclobutane rings were opened. These diagenetic products of ladderane lipids were still detectable up to temperatures of 260 ??C using GC-MS. Thus, ladderane lipids are unlikely to occur in ancient sediments and sedimentary rocks, but specific diagenetic products of ladderane lipids will likely be present in sediments and sedimentary rocks of relatively low maturity (i.e., C31 hopane 22S/(22S + 22R) ratio <0.2 or ????/(???? + ???? + ????) ratio of >0.5). ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.