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Geochemistry of dissolved organic matter in a spatially highly resolved goundwater petroleum hydrocarbon plume cross-section.
Environ. Sci. Technol. 50, 5536-5546 (2016)
At numerous groundwater sites worldwide, natural dissolved organic matter (DOM) is quantitatively complemented with petroleum hydrocarbons. To date, research has been focused almost exclusively on the contaminants, but detailed insights of the interaction of contaminant biodegradation, dominant redox processes, and interactions with natural DOM are missing. This study linked on-site high resolution spatial sampling of groundwater with high resolution molecular characterization of DOM and its relation to groundwater geochemistry across a petroleum hydrocarbon plume cross-section. Electrospray- and atmospheric pressure photoionization (ESI, APPI) ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) revealed a strong interaction between DOM and reactive sulfur species linked to microbial sulfate reduction, i.e., the key redox process involved in contaminant biodegradation. Excitation emission matrix (EEM) fluorescence spectroscopy in combination with Parallel Factor Analysis (PARAFAC) modeling attributed DOM samples to specific contamination traits. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy evaluated the aromatic compounds and their degradation products in samples influenced by the petroleum contamination and its biodegradation. Our orthogonal high resolution analytical approach enabled a comprehensive molecular level understanding of the DOM with respect to in situ petroleum hydrocarbon biodegradation and microbial sulfate reduction. The role of natural DOM as potential cosubstrate and detoxification reactant may improve future bioremediation strategies.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Atmospheric-pressure Photoionization; Ion-cyclotron Resonance; Resolution Mass-spectrometry; Oil-contaminated Aquifer; Water Horizon Oil; High-field Nmr; Aromatic-hydrocarbons; Hydrogen-sulfide; Drinking-water; Comprehensive Characterization