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Quantitative determination of toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene degradation products in contaminated groundwater by solid-phase extraction and in-vial derivatization

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Benzylsuccinic acid (BSA) and methylbenzylsuccinic acids (mBSAs) are unambiguous indicators of anaerobic toluene and ethylbenzene/xylene degradation, and so the determination of these compounds in landfill leachates and contaminated groundwater is highly relevant. Samples were diluted to -1 in order to reduce their ionic strength, and subsequently extracted through strong anion exchange disks, followed by simultaneous in-vial elution and methylation. A detection limit of 0.1?µg?L -1 was obtained for 100?mL samples. Using this method, 19.3?µg?L -1 of BSA was measured in a landfill leachate, and low µg?L -1 levels of all of the mBSAs were measured in gasoline-contaminated groundwater. The results were compared with the findings of BSAs at 16 other contaminated sites, and BSAs as indicators of biodegradation were evaluated. The estimation of biodegradation rates based on parent hydrocarbons and BSA concentrations or ratios is questionable. However, the degradation products serve as good qualitative in situ indicators for anaerobic biodegradation in contaminated groundwater.
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Keywords: Benzylsuccinic acid; Biodegradation; GC/MS; Groundwater; Landfill leachate; Solid-phase extraction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Environment & Resources DTU, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet, Building 115, DK-2800 Kgs, Lyngby, Denmark

Publication date: December 10, 2005

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