Applications of FTICR-MS in Oil Spill Studies

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



FTICR-MS, Oil spills, Deepwater Horizon, Biomarkers, MOSSFA

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


During the past decade, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) has been established as a technique of choice for the comprehensive chemical assessment of some of the most complex organic mixtures, such as petroleum, or dissolved organic matter. In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout, FTICR-MS demonstrated its applicability for the characterization of oil spill residues produced by abiotic weathering, such as photooxidation, and/or microbial processes and interactions, for example, marine oil snow aggregation. Such residues are abundant in high molecular weight, polar, and heteroatom-bearing chemical species, which cannot be analyzed by the typical oil spill forensics tools such as gas chromatography. Therefore, the expansion of the analytical window afforded by FTICR-MS is crucial for the monitoring and understanding of long-term oil spill fate. Furthermore, capability of FTICR-MS to characterize non-hydrocarbon petroleum fractions will be very important in the case of potential future spills of heavy, unconventional oils, such as bitumen.


Data used in this book chapter are available for download.

Characterization of Northern Gulf of Mexico sediments using ultrahigh resolution FTICR-MS

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Applications of FTICR-MS in Oil Spill Studies, in S. A. Murawski, C. H. Ainsworth, S. Gilbert, D. J. Hollander, C. B. Paris, M. Schlüter & D. L. Wetzel (Eds.), Deep Oil Spills Facts, Fate, and Effects, Springer, p. 253-268