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Alkyl PAHs, Alkanes and Biomarkers

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Some of the most important target analytes in damage assessment from petroleum products are PAHs and alkylated PAHs. Alkylated PAHs are characterized by the total number of alkyl carbon atoms present on the parent PAH compound. They are more abundant and persist for a longer time in the environment than the parent PAHs. Therefore, it is suggested that alkyl homolog concentrations should be combined with its parent concentration when performing risk assessments.

PAHs and alkylated PAHs can also be used in forensic analyses when presented as histograms that visually represent the relative target analyte concentrations for the purpose of qualitatively fingerprinting a petroleum sample. Crude oils contain primarily Alkylated PAHs and relatively small concentrations of the unsubstituted parent PAHs.

Biomarkers are complex organic compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen and other elements that are found in petroleum. They show little to no change in structure from their parent molecules found in living organisms, are unique to each source of petroleum and have been well documented.

Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental analyzes biomarkers, including terpanes, steranes and triaromatic steroids and provides the data in a format that can be used by petroleum experts to evaluate possible sources for the contamination. The biomarkers are often used in conjunction with other site data such as PAHs, alkylated PAHs and alkanes to determine the source of contamination.

Alkanes, Isoprenoids and Standard Hydrocarbons
Similar in scope to ASTM simulated distillation methods, our detailed aliphatic hydrocarbon profile, along with isoprenoid information and pristine/phytane (C17/C18) ratios are valuable tools that can assist in the characterization of crude oil either as a reference source or an environmental contaminant.

Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental provides analysis of water, salt water, soil, sediment, product and tissue samples for alkanes, TPH/SHC/DRO and isoprenoids using GC/FID SW-846 8015, including:

  • nC9 to nC40
  • Total TPH (C9-C40)
  • Total SHC
  • DRO (C10-C28)
  • Total Resolved SHC (C9-C40)
  • 2,6,10-Trimethyldodecane (1380)
  • 2,6,10-Trimethyltridecane (1470)
  • 2,6,10-Trimethylpentadecane (1650)
  • Pristane
  • Phytane

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