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Biodegradation of Representative Ignitable Liquid Components on Soil

NCJ Number
Forensic Chemistry Volume: 6 Dated: 2017 Pages: 19-27
Date Published
9 pages
This project examined the biodegradation of representative ignitable liquid components on soil.

A mixture that contained 14 hydrocarbons representing six distinct compound types (e.g. normal alkanes, branched alkanes, cyclic alkanes, aromatics, polynuclear aromatics, and oxygenates) was deposited onto 90 grams of potting soil and allowed to remain for specified periods of time. Hydrocarbons remaining at the end of each time period were extracted by passive headspace concentration and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. No byproducts were observed to be formed or accumulate during biodegradation in this study. There was sizable loss of oxygenated compounds, normal alkanes, and toluene compared to poly-substituted aromatics, polynuclear aromatics, branched alkanes, and cyclic alkanes. The half-life for the cumulative loss of all components of the hydrocarbon mixture was calculated to be 3.15 days. A half-life as short as 1.75 days was determined for the integrated loss of a commercial ignitable liquid from the ASTM E1618 aromatic class ignitable liquid. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017