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Determination of biological markers of organic substances in sediment and soil samples by gas chromatography


Once they reach the environment, petroleum hydrocarbons undergo various chemical, physico-chemical and biochemical transformation processes. Organic compounds which are not or are very poorly subject to these processes are thermodynamically the most stable isomers and they are called biological markers (biomarkers). This paper presents the results of the determination of organic substances in twelve samples taken in the area of the city of Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Two soil samples were taken in the Banja Luka city heating plant area and ten river sediment and soil samples were taken in the upper and lower basin of the Vrbas river in the Banja Luka city area. The aim of this study was to determine the biomarkers of oil-type pollutants in contaminated samples as well as the type of organic substances in samples taken near the contaminated area. Assisted solvent extraction was used to isolate the total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) from all twelve samples. Fractionation of the extracts into saturated and aromatic hydrocarbon fractions was performed by column chromatography. The fractions were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). On basis of the obtained chromatograms, biomarkers of petroleum pollutants and specific correlation parameters of organic substances in the samples were determined. The dominance of n-alkanes with odd C atoms as well as the presence of an unresolved complex mixture (UCM) on chromatograms of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons showed the presence of anthropogenic organic substances of petroleum origin in the analyzed samples. Based on the obtained chromatograms, it can be concluded that microbial degradation of hydrocarbons in all samples occurred.

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Fachgebiete der Zeitschrift:
Chemie, andere