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The recognition of biodegraded petroleum derived aromatic hydrocarbons in recent marine sediments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Martin Jones


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omatic hydrocarbon fractions isolated from sediments polluted with crude oil, from sampling stations in and around Sullom Voe, Shetland Islands, were found to exhibit, as the major feature in their gas chromatograms, an unresolved complex mixture or ‘hump’. This feature was absent from the gas chromatograms of the aromatic hydrocarbon fractions isolated from corresponding unpolluted sediments in the region. The observed aromatic hump had little resemblance to the distribution of aromatic hydrocarbons in a typical North Sea crude oil. Incubation studies, however, showed that such a hump was appearing when oil-spiked sediments were aerobically biodegraded. From these incubation studies it was also evident that alkylaromatic hydrocarbons in the crude oil were biodegraded before any change in the normal alkanes was apparent. Therefore, the presence of an unresolved complex mixture in the gas chromatograms of aromatic hydrocarbon fractions from recent sediments can act as a marker to recognize contamination by crude oil.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones DM, Douglas AG, Parkes RJ, Taylor J, Giger W, Schaffner C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin

Year: 1983

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 103-108

Print publication date: 01/03/1983

ISSN (print): 0025-326X

ISSN (electronic): 1879-3363

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/0025-326X(83)90310-7


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