Chemical Fingerprinting - oil forensics

How can chemical fingerprinting be applied in oil forensics?

In any crime investigations the goal is to find the perpetrator of the crime. Starting out investigating oil spills, we have pioneered novel methods for multivariate oil hydrocarbon fingerprinting using one-dimensional chromatography with mass spectrometry detection, and excitation-emission fluorescence spectroscopy combined with multivariate statistical modelling. We are currently developing new and more comprehensive oil hydrocarbon fingerprinting strategies based on multidimensional chromatography data and apply these methods for environmental oil spill fingerprinting and oil-source correlation.

We also apply the fingerprinting techniques to assess the effects of bioremediation strategies, natural attenuation, and to distinguish these effects from different weathering processes. These are important mechanisms to include when investigating oil spills and oil-source correlations.