Lobodin, V. V., Maksimova, E. V., & Rodgers, R. P. (2016). Gas Chromatography/Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization Tandem Mass Spectrometry for Fingerprinting the Macondo Oil Spill. Anal Chem, 88(13), 6914–6922.
Abstract: We report the first application of a new mass spectrometry technique (gas chromatography combined to atmospheric pressure chemical ionization tandem mass spectrometry, GC/APCI-MS/MS) for fingerprinting a crude oil and environmental samples from the largest accidental marine oil spill in history (the Macondo oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico, 2010). The fingerprinting of the oil spill is based on a trace analysis of petroleum biomarkers (steranes, diasteranes, and pentacyclic triterpanes) naturally occurring in crude oil. GC/APCI enables soft ionization of petroleum compounds that form abundant molecular ions without (or little) fragmentation. The ability to operate the instrument simultaneously in several tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) modes (e.g., full scan, product ion scan, reaction monitoring) significantly improves structural information content and sensitivity of analysis. For fingerprinting the oil spill, we constructed diagrams and conducted correlation studies that measure the similarity between environmental samples and enable us to differentiate the Macondo oil spill from other sources.