Using stable isotope analysis to discriminate gasoline on the basis of its origin
K.-S. Lee, Graduate School of Analytical Science and Technology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 305–764, Korea.
Leakage of gasoline and diesel from underground tanks has led to a severe environmental problem in many countries. Tracing the production origin of gasoline and diesel is required to enable the development of dispute resolution and appropriate remediation strategies for the oil-contaminated sites.
We investigated the bulk and compound-specific isotopic compositions of gasoline produced by four oil companies in South Korea: S-Oil, SK, GS and Hyundai. The relative abundance of several compounds in gasoline was determined by the peak height of the major ion (m/z 44).
The δ13CBulk and δDBulk values of gasoline produced by S-Oil were significantly different from those of SK, GS and Hyundai. In particular, the compound-specific isotopic value (δ13CCSIA) of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in S-Oil gasoline was significantly lower than that of gasoline produced by other oil companies. The abundance of several compounds in gasoline, such as n-pentane, MTBE, n-hexane, toluene, ethylbenzene and o-xylene, differed widely among gasoline from different oil companies.
This study shows that gasoline can be forensically discriminated according to the oil company responsible for its manufacture using stable isotope analysis combined with multivariate statistical analysis. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.