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Steranes as indicators of petroleum hydrocarbons in marine surface sediments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Martin Jones


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Combined gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) can be used to reveal the distribution of triterpenoidal and steroidal hydrocarbons in petroleums. Commonly this is achieved by monitoring the ions m/z 191 and m/z 217. This technique, much used for oil-oil correlations, has also been proposed to be useful for the detection and ‘fingerprinting’ of petroleum-type hydrocarbons in contaminated surface sediments, although few examples appear to have been published. GC-MS of saturated hydrocarbon fractions isolated from a large number of sites in and around Sullom Voe, Shetland Islands shows that in some cases both biologically-derived and petroleum type components are distinguishable in the m/z 191 ‘fingerprints’. In contrast, the corresponding m/z 217 sterane ‘fingerprints’ are not complicated by biologically-derived steranes and even though the ratio of the major triterpanes to steranes exceeds 50:1 in some cases, the m/z 217 profile still yields a useful petroleum ‘fingerprint’.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones DM, Rowland SJ, Douglas AG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine Pollution Bulletin

Year: 1986

Volume: 17

Issue: 1

Pages: 24-27

Print publication date: 01/01/1986

ISSN (print): 0025-326X

ISSN (electronic): 1879-3363

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/0025-326X(86)90800-3


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