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Trace Analysis of Surfactants in Corexit Oil Dispersant Formulations and Seawater Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/z029p543p

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  • After the April 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, and subsequent release of millions of barrels of oil, two Corexit oil dispersant formulations were used in unprecedented quantities both on the surface and sub-surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Although the dispersant formulations contain four classes of surfactants, current studies to date focus on the anionic surfactant, bis-(2-ethylhexyl) sulfosuccinate (DOSS). Factors affecting the integrity of environmental and laboratory samples for Corexit analysis have not been systematically investigated. For this reason, a quantitative analytical method was developed for the detection of all four classes of surfactants, as well as the hydrolysis products of DOSS, the enantiomeric mixture of α- and β-ethylhexyl sulfosuccinate (α-/β-EHSS). The analytical method was then used to evaluate which practices for sample collection, storage, and analysis resulted in high quality data. Large volume, direct injection of seawater followed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) minimized analytical artifacts, analysis time, and both chemical and solid waste. Concentrations of DOSS in the seawater samples ranged from 71–13,000 ng/L, while the nonionic surfactants including Span 80, Tween 80, Tween 85 were detected infrequently (26% of samples) at concentrations from 840–9100 ng/L. The enantiomers α-/β-EHSS were detected in seawater, at concentrations from 200–1,900 ng/L, and in both Corexit dispersant formulations, indicating α-/β-EHSS were applied to the oil spill and may be not unambiguous indicator of DOSS degradation. Best practices are provided to ensure sample integrity and data quality for environmental monitoring studies and laboratory that require the detection and quantification of Corexit-based surfactants in seawater.
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  • 129
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  • Gulf of Mexico sample collection, aboard the R/V Walton Smith, was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation OCE-1043224 given to Samantha B.Joye. In addition, this study was supported, in part, by a grant from the BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (as part of the University of Mississippi-led consortium for research entitled ‘Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG)’) contribution number 217, the OSU Superfund Research Program Award Number P42ES016465 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the N.L. Tartar Research Fellowship from Oregon State University. Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32ES007060.
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