The transformation of benzene and a series of alkylbenzenes was studied in anoxic groundwater of a shallow glacial-outwash aquifer near Bemidji, Minnesota, U.S.A. Monoaromatic hydrocarbons, the most water-soluble components of crude oil, were transported downgradient of an oil spill, forming a plume of contaminated groundwater. Organic acids that were not original components of the oil were identified in the anoxic groundwater. The highest concentrations of these oxidized organic compounds were found in the anoxic plume where a decrease in concentrations of structurally related alkylbenzenes was observed. These results suggest that biological transformation of benzene and alkylbenzenes to organic acid intermediates may be an important attenuation process in anoxic environments. The transformation of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons to a series of corresponding oxidation products in an anoxic subsurface environment provides new insight into in situ anaerobic degradation processes. ?? 1990 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.
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Transformation of Monoaromatic hydrocarbons to organic acids in anoxic groundwater environment