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The effect of biodegradation and water washing on the occurrence of alkylphenols in crude oils

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Barry Bennett, Dr Martin Jones, Professor Stephen Larter


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Biodegraded oils from California and Nigeria were analysed to assess the impact of biodegradation upon alkylphenol occurrence in crude oils. The extent of biodegradation in the 13 Californian samples ranged from very mild (full n-alkane distribution present) to moderate (complete degradation of C15+ n-alkanes and significant reduction of acyclic isoprenoids) corresponding to a range of < 1-4 on the biodegradation scale of Peters and Moldowan [Peters, K.E., Moldowan, J.M., 1993. The Biomarker Guide: Interpreting Molecular Fossils in Petroleum and Ancient Sediments. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ (363 pp)]. Degradation in the four Nigerian oils ranged from very mild/nondegraded (stage 1 or less) to complete removal of n-alkanes and acyclic isoprenoids (stage 5). The data from the naturally-degraded sample suites were compared to the results of an in-vitro aerobic biodegradation experiment conducted with a North Sea oil. Biodegradation resulted in significant reduction in total alkylphenol abundance and preferential depletion of C3 and C2 alkylated compounds in the Nigerian and laboratory degraded samples. These effects were most pronounced in oils in which the methylated naphthalenes had been biodegraded (biodegradation stage 4 or 5). There was no clear relationship between alkylphenol abundance or molecular distributions and the extent of biodegradation in the Californian samples, although alkylphenol distributions in the biodegraded samples were generally dominated by the C3 compounds. Simple oil/water partition calculations showed that these distributions were consistent with the effects of water washing. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Taylor P, Bennett B, Jones DM, Larter SR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Organic Geochemistry

Year: 2001

Volume: 32

Issue: 2

Pages: 341-358

Print publication date: 01/02/2001

ISSN (print): 0146-6380

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5290

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/S0146-6380(00)00176-5


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