Determination of Petroleum Hydrocarbon Compounds from Soils and Sediments Using Ultrasonic Extraction

  • Frédéric CoulonEmail author
  • Guozhong Wu
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


An ultrasonic extraction method for contaminated soils with petroleum hydrocarbons is presented. The method covers the determination of extractable total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) between nC8 and nC35 and sub-ranges of hydrocarbons including kerosene range organic (KRO) compounds (nC8–nC14), diesel range organic (DRO) compounds (nC10–nC24) and mineral oil range organic (MRO) compounds (nC22–nC34) in soils or sediments. Further modifications to the carbon banding may be made as requested for risk assessment. The aliphatic and aromatic fractions (Ali/Aro split) are separated and reported separately. This is achieved by passing the sample extract through a silica gel column and eluting the aliphatic and aromatic fractions from the column separately. These split extracts are then quantified separately by gas chromatography equipped with flame ionisation detector (GC-FID). This method may be useful as a rapid tool to determine those samples which may require further, more detailed analysis or interpretation. The method should not be used to analyse samples containing volatile hydrocarbons in the carbon band range below C8. The method can be routinely used for measuring hydrocarbons down to 10 mg kg−1 in soil. The results can be expressed either as total petroleum hydrocarbons or as a carbon range depending upon the range of hydrocarbons included in the integration. With an extraction efficiency and recovery comprise between ≥95 and 99%, this method can be easily positioned as a good alternative to Soxhlet extraction and shows a good potential for implementation as a standard method potentially providing further insight to the contaminated land sector.


Hydrocarbon banding Risk assessment Total petroleum hydrocarbons Ultrasonic solvent extraction 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and TechnologySchool of Applied Science, Cranfield UniversityCranfieldUK
  2. 2.Division of Ocean Science and TechnologyGraduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua UniversityShenzhenChina

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