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The thermal evolution of asphaltene-bound biomarkers from coals of different rank: A potential information resource during coal biodegradation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Aminu Muhammad, Dr Geoffrey AbbottORCiD


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Asphaltenes from coals of different rank were oxidised using ruthenium tetroxide with the aim of investigating the changes in bound biomarker distributions as a function of increasing maturity. There is preliminary evidence for epimerization of bound hopanoid biomarkers from the biological configuration into the more stable geological configuration. The 22R↔22S epimerization in the bound 17α(H),21β(H) homohopanoids lags behind the corresponding isomerization in the maltenes between mean vitrinite reflectance (Ro) values of ca. 0.5% to 0.7%. In general, the asphaltenes evolve towards a more thermally stable structure with decreasing amounts of aliphatic moieties and increasing amounts of lower molecular weight side chains relative to the higher molecular weight ones. Bound biomarkers in coal asphaltenes could be important sources of information particularly where free hydrocarbon biomarkers have been altered or completely lost to biodegradation which occurs during the generation of microbial gas.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Muhammad AB, Abbott GD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Coal Geology

Year: 2013

Volume: 107

Pages: 90-95

Print publication date: 01/03/2013

Online publication date: 14/10/2012

ISSN (print): 0166-5162

ISSN (electronic): 1872-7840

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.coal.2012.10.003


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