Branched alkanes from ancient and modern sediments

Isomer discrimination by GC/MS with multiple reaction monitoring

Roger E. Summons*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Linked scanning of a tandem sector mass spectrometer has been used to identify abundant, first field free region (FFR1) unimolecular fragmentations in branched and isoprenoid hydrocarbons. The most intense, structure-specific reactions were selected to establish multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) parameters for GC/MS analysis. This methodology has been used to study the identity of co-eluting and closely eluting hydrocarbon biomarkers from modern and ancient sediments anand from extant micro-organisms. Some sediments of Cambrian and Proterozoic age have been found to contain suites of monomethylalkanes with all possible isomers present and with little apparent preference for the site of branching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalOrganic Geochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1987



  • ancient and modern sediments
  • biomarker hydrocarbons
  • branched alkanes
  • isoprenoids
  • methylalkanes
  • MRM
  • MS/MS
  • petroleum

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