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Comparison of microscale sealed vessel pyrolysis (MSSVpy) and hydropyrolysis (Hypy) for the characterisation of extant and sedimentary organic matter

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Helen Talbot


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Microscale sealed vessel pyrolysis (MSSVpy) and catalytic hydropyrolysis (Hypy) combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry have emerged in recent years as useful and versatile organic analytical and characterisation methods. Both now commercially available, these pyrolysis methods complement traditional flash pyrolysis analysis which can be limited by excessive degradation or inadequate chromatographic resolution of pyrolysates of high structural polarity. To assess the versatility and merits of these two pyrolysis methods they were separately applied to several organic samples reflecting different thermal maturities. This comparison revealed many product similarities, but also several important features unique to each. Both produced C-27-C-33 hopane products from a bacterial isolate and a membrane biofoulant from a water filtration system. Increased concentrations of higher MW and beta beta-stereoisomeric hopanes detected by Hypy reflect more selective bond cleavage, attributed to a relatively short residence time and catalyst assisted reduction of volatilisation temperatures, of the Mostly C-35 (beta beta-) bacteriohopanepolyol precursors established by corresponding LC-MS analysis. When applied to the asphaltene fraction of a biodegraded oil both pyrolysis methods were able to regenerate similar distributions of liquid n-alkanes and source diagnostic hopane and sterane biomarkers removed from the free phase of oil by the biodegradation. The detection of low MW (

Publication metadata

Author(s): Berwick LJ, Greenwood PF, Meredith W, Snape CE, Talbot HM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis

Year: 2010

Volume: 87

Issue: 1

Pages: 108-116

ISSN (print): 0165-2370

ISSN (electronic): 1873-250X

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.jaap.2009.10.009


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Funder referenceFunder name
Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment (CRC-WQT)
Curtin University of Technology