Method for determination of methyl tert-butyl ether and its degradation products in water

Clinton D. Church, Lorne M. Isabelle, James F. Pankow, Donna L. Rose, Paul Tratnyek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

An analytical method is described that can detect the major alkyl ether compounds that are used as gasoline oxygenates (methyl tert-butyl ether, MTBE; ethyl tert-butyl ether, ETBE; and tert-amyl methyl ether, TAME) and their most characteristic degradation products (tert-butyl alcohol, TBA; tert-butyl formate, TBF; and tert-amyl alcohol, TAA) in water at sub-ppb concentrations. The new method involves gas chromatography (GC) with direct aqueous injection (DAI) onto a polar column via a splitless injector, coupled with detection by mass spectrometry (MS). DAI-GC/MS gives excellent agreement with conventional purge-and-trap methods for MTBE over a wide range of environmentally relevant concentrations. The new method can also give simultaneous identification of polar compounds that might occur as degradation products of gasoline oxygenates, such as TBA, TBF, TAA, methyl acetate, and acetone. When the method was applied to effluent from a column microcosm prepared with core material from an urban site in New Jersey, conversion of MTBE to TBA was observed after a lag period of 35 days. However, to date, analyses of water samples from six field sites using the DAI-GC/MS method have not produced evidence for the expected products of in situ degradation of MTBE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3723-3726
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume31
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1997

Fingerprint

MTBE
Ethers
Gas chromatography
Mass spectrometry
Degradation
Water
ether
gas chromatography
mass spectrometry
Gasoline
water
Acetone
urban site
Effluents
Alcohols
acetone
Ether
microcosm
alcohol
analytical method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering

Cite this

Method for determination of methyl tert-butyl ether and its degradation products in water. / Church, Clinton D.; Isabelle, Lorne M.; Pankow, James F.; Rose, Donna L.; Tratnyek, Paul.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 31, No. 12, 12.1997, p. 3723-3726.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Church, Clinton D. ; Isabelle, Lorne M. ; Pankow, James F. ; Rose, Donna L. ; Tratnyek, Paul. / Method for determination of methyl tert-butyl ether and its degradation products in water. In: Environmental Science and Technology. 1997 ; Vol. 31, No. 12. pp. 3723-3726.
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