John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Identification of ester metabolites from petroleum hydrocarbon biodegradation in groundwater using GC × GC‐TOFMS

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In an effort to understand the nature and toxicity of petroleum hydrocarbon degradation metabolites, two‐dimensional gas chromatography linked to a time‐of‐flight mass spectrometer (GC × GC‐TOFMS) was used to conduct non‐targeted analysis of the extracts of 61 groundwater samples collected from 10 fuel release sites. An unexpected result was the tentative identification of 197 unique esters. While esters are known to be part of specific hydrocarbon degradative pathways, they are not commonly considered or evaluated in field studies of petroleum biodegradation. In addition to describing the compounds identified, this short communication discusses the role for non‐targeted analysis in environmental studies. Overall, the low toxicological profile of the identified esters, along with the limited potential for exposure renders them unlikely to pose any significant health risk. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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