Tracing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the environment using 13C/12C ratios

V. P. O'Malley*, A. Stark, T. A. Abrajano, J. Hellou, L. Winsor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The origin of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) input sources to the sediments of three study sites was elucidated using the isotopic composition and the molecular abundance of individual 3-, 4- and 5-ring PAH in two component mixing calculations. PAH inputs to the St. John's Harbour mainly consisted of a mixture of petroleum and combustion-derived sources with vehicular emissions being the most important combustion input source. Combustion-derived sources of PAH were also apparent in the Conception Bay sediments, however, the presence of a source possibly of petroleum or diagenetic origin was also evident in these sediments. PAH inputs to most sites along the International segment of the St. Lawrence River consisted of mixtures of combustion and petroleum-derived contributions. However, inputs to the Prescott-Ogdenburg sediment were mainly of petroleum origin while inputs to the Brockville sediments were from combustion-derived sources with evidence of strong local point sources dominating in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
JournalPolycyclic Aromatic Compounds
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon isotope ratios (C/C)
  • Gas chromatography/combustion/isotope ratio mass spectrometry
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Source tracing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Tracing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the environment using 13C/12C ratios'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this