Geochromatographic migration of oil pollution from a heating plant to river sediments

  • Ivan Samelak
  • Milica BalabanEmail author
  • Mališa Antić
  • Tatjana Šolević Knudsen
  • Branimir Jovančićević
Original Paper


Many pollution sources are difficult to identify because pollutants are transported far away into complex environments. In particular, the mechanisms of petroleum migration in sediments are poorly known. Here, we studied two sediments from the circuit of a heating plant and three sediments located at 100, 200 and 300 m away from the plant. Saturated hydrocarbons were isolated and group composition was determined by column chromatography. n-Alkanes, terpanes and steranes were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Results show that the amount of short n-alkanes increases during migration, which indicates the migration mechanism. Results on steranes reveal a geochromatographic migration of the oil, where the fastest eluting stereoisomers display the longest migration path. Changes in the distribution of biological markers are explained by migration in water.


Oil-type pollutant River sediments Migration Group composition Biomarkers Geochromatography 



The samples 2a–2c were taken in the protected area “University city” with the permission of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of the Republic of Srpska and University of Banja Luka, Genetic Resources Institute. The study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (Project 176006), and by the Ministry for Scientific and Technological Development, Higher Education and Information Society of the Republic of Srpska.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Natural Sciences and MathematicsUniversity of Banja LukaBanja LukaBosnia and Herzegovina
  2. 2.Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  3. 3.Institute of Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy, Center of ChemistryUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  4. 4.Faculty of ChemistryUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

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