September 12, 2019
Kirk O'Reilly, Ph.D., J.D., senior managing scientist at Exponent, and Sungwoo Ahn, Ph.D., senior scientist at Exponent, and colleagues have recently co-authored the article, "Oxygen-Containing Compounds Identified in Groundwater from Fuel Release Sites Using GCxGC-TOF-MS." Their research continues a 7-year study of oxygen-containing organic compounds present in groundwater at gasoline and diesel fuel release sites.
This research continues a 7‐year study of oxygen‐containing organic compounds present in groundwater at gasoline and diesel fuel release sites that are quantified as diesel‐range "total petroleum hydrocarbons" when measured by methods utilizing solvent extraction and gas chromatography. Two‐dimensional gas chromatography with time‐of‐flight mass spectrometry was used to tentatively identify 1162 compounds (TICs) in 113 groundwater samples from 22 sites. Samples were collected from wells either upgradient of the release, within the source zone, or downgradient of the source but still within the plume of dissolved organics associated with release. The names and formulas of all TICs found in samples from each well type are presented and the results from upgradient and downgradient locations are compared in detail. About 60% of the most frequently detected TICs in downgradient wells were also detected in upgradient wells. A majority of these were saturated straight chain alkyl acids, commonly called fatty acids, or fatty acid esters. Of TICs frequently detected in downgradient wells but not upgradient wells, over half were branched alkyl alcohols. Hierarchical cluster analysis results suggest about 80% of the chemical composition of downgradient samples is more similar to upgradient samples than to source area samples. This similarity is due to the presence of the same types of fatty acids and esters. Principal component analysis indicates a continuum of biodegradation between the source area and downgradient samples with the latter becoming more consistent with upgradient samples. Results suggest some TICs may not be petroleum degradation intermediates, but compounds synthesized by microorganisms through secondary production and carbon cycling.
To read their full article, click here.