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Talanta. 2012 Sep 15;99:262-9. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2012.05.049. Epub 2012 May 29.

Characterization of diesel fuel by chemical separation combined with capillary gas chromatography (GC) isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS).

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National Security Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352, USA.


The purpose of this study was to perform a preliminary investigation of compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) of diesel fuels to evaluate whether the technique could distinguish diesel samples from different sources/locations. The ability to differentiate or correlate diesel samples could be valuable for discovering fuel tax evasion schemes or for environmental forensic studies. Two urea adduction-based techniques were used to isolate the n-alkanes from the fuel. Both carbon isotope ratio (δ(13)C) and hydrogen isotope ratio (δD) values for the n-alkanes were then determined by CSIA in each sample. The samples investigated had δ(13)C values that ranged from -30.1‰ to -26.8‰, whereas δD values ranged from -83‰ to -156‰. Plots of δD versus δ(13)C with sample n-alkane points connected in order of increasing carbon number gave well-separated clusters with characteristic shapes for each sample. Principal components analysis (PCA) with δ(13)C, δD, or combined δ(13)C and δD data was applied to extract the maximum information content. PCA scores plots could clearly differentiate the samples, thereby demonstrating the potential of this approach for distinguishing (e.g., fingerprinting) fuel samples using δ(13)C and δD values.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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