Application of Biomarkers in Oil Pollution Monitoring

Crude oil pollution monitoring using the presence of individual organic compounds like VOCs, PAHs may be misleading because some of these compounds may be released into the environment from other sources other than crude oil.

Thus, the application of biomarkers as indicator of oil pollution associated with crude oil is very important. This is carried out by the use of GC-MS in the investigation and quantification of these biomarker compounds.

These compounds are characteristic of crude oil and their presence in the environment is considered a strong inference of crude oil related pollution.

There are also other statistical measures like principal component analysis (PCA) that can be used to model other parameters thus far discussed (both aggregate and individual) together with the biomarkers to evaluate the extent of their correlation and use that to also draw inferences on the source of pollution in crude oil pollution monitoring.

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In summary,Biomarkers which are compounds that retain the chemical signature of the materials from which crude oil were derived are useful in identifying the source material, the source rock, the maturity of the crude oil, the migration path and other information about the oil.

Application of Biomarkers in Oil Pollution Monitoring

They are best analysed with sensitive analytical tools like GC/MS or GC/MS-MS because of their low concentration and the advantage of the analytical tool in providing the chemical fingerprint of the compounds.

Biomarkers are valuable compounds in exploration and characterization of petroleum because of the information they provide. A more detailed knowledge of these compounds and their application will add value to the knowledge of geochemist, environmental specialist and chemist in general.

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Benadine Nonye

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