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Analysis of methanol, ethanol and propanol in aqueous environmental matrices

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kathleen M. Magolan (Creator)
Yusheng Zhai (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
S. Bart Jones

Abstract: A method for analysis of methanol, ethanol, and propanol at submicromolar levels in aqueous samples has been developed. It involves enzymatic oxidation of the alcohols to their corresponding aldehydes using alcohol oxidase. The resulting aldehydes are derivatized to their respective hydrazones using 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine (DNPH). These hydrazones are separated and quantified using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) at 370nm. Comparison of samples with and without enzyme, allows for indirect determination of the alcohol concentration by reversed phase HPLC. The optimum conditions for the enzyme reaction were 40 minutes at 40 ± 0.1°C, pH 8.5, and addition of 100 µL of alcohol oxidase (2 units mL-1). Alcohol concentrations in enzyme blanks were 0.44 ± 0.01 µM for methanol, 0.050 ± 0.004 µM for ethanol, and 0.15 ± 0.04 µM for propanol. Limits of detection were 0.03 µM, 0.02µM, and 0.14 µM for methanol, ethanol, and propanol respectively. Percent conversions under optimum conditions were 90.1% ± 2% RSD for methanol, 40% ± 3% RSD for ethanol, and 7% ± 3% RSD for propanol. Alcohol concentrations in rain events in southeastern NC were dependent on storm origin and varied from 0.08-0.91 µM for methanol and 0.08-0.23 µM for ethanol. Conditions for propanol analysis are still being optimized. Percentages of carbon from methanol and ethanol in dissolved organic carbon in rain events 570A, 573, and 574 were 3.1%, 0.4%, and 3.5% respectively.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
Language: English
Date: 2009
Alcohols--Oxidation, Aldehydes--Research, Organic compounds--Synthesis, Rain and rainfall--Environmental aspects--North Carolina--Wilmington, Solution (Chemistry)
Organic compounds -- Synthesis
Solution (Chemistry)
Alcohols -- Oxidation
Aldehydes -- Research
Rain and rainfall -- Environmental aspects -- North Carolina -- Wilmington