High Field Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Characterization of Electronic and Structural Environments for Paramagnetic Metal Ions and Organic Free Radicals in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Tar Balls

TitleHigh Field Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Characterization of Electronic and Structural Environments for Paramagnetic Metal Ions and Organic Free Radicals in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Tar Balls
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRamachandran V, van Tol J, McKenna AM, Rodgers RP, Marshall AG, Dalal NS
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Volume87
Pagination2306-2313
Date PublishedFeb 17
ISBN Number0003-2700
Accession NumberWOS:000349806200041
KeywordsDeepwater Horizon Oil Spill
AbstractIn the first use of high-field electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to characterize paramagnetic metalorganic and free radical species from tar balls and weathered crude oil samples from the Gulf of Mexico (collected after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill) and an asphalt volcano sample collected off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA, we are able to identify for the first time the various paramagnetic species present in the native state of these samples and understand their molecular structures and bonding. The two tar ball and one asphalt volcano samples contain three distinct paramagnetic species: (i) an organic free radical, (ii) a [VO](2+) containing porphyrin, and (iii) a Mn2+ containing complex. The organic free radical was found to have a disc-shaped or flat structure, based on its axially symmetric spectrum. The characteristic spectral features of the vanadyl species closely resemble those of pure vanadyl porphyrin; hence, its nuclear framework around the vanadyl ion must be similar to that of vanadyl octaethyl porphyrin (VOOEP). The Mn2+ ion, essentially undetected by low-field EPR, yields a high-field EPR spectrum with well-resolved hyperfine features devoid of zero-field splitting, characteristic of tetrahedral or octahedral MnO bonding. Although the lower-field EPR signals from the organic free radicals in fossil fuel samples have been investigated over the last 5 decades, the observed signal was featureless. In contrast, high-field EPR (up to 240 GHz) reveals that the species is a disc-shaped hydrocarbon molecule in which the unpaired electron is extensively delocalized. We envisage that the measured g-value components will serve as a sensitive basis for electronic structure calculations. High-field electron nuclear double resonance experiments should provide an accurate picture of the spin density distribution for both the vanadyl-porphyrin and Mn2+ complexes, as well as the organic free radical, and will be the focus of follow-up studies.
DOI10.1021/ac504080g