Jie Lu

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Michael J. Barcelona

Second Advisor

Dr. Bing Zeng

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael E. McCarville

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Thomas Houser

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The geochemical evolution of Low Molecular Weight Fatty Acids (LMWFA's) in various ground water samples and aquifer solid samples from both contaminated and uncontaminated sites has been studied. An improved analytical method has been established for both qualitative and quantitative determination of LMWFA's. The low molecular weight (LMW) organic acids are metabolic intermediates of the oxidative biodegradation of hydrocarbon contaminants. The hydrocarbons are believed to be the electron donors in these redox reactions. Formic and acetic acids were found to be the major LMWFA's in these ground water samples and aquifer solid samples. Their concentrations increase as the redox condition of sample sites changed from oxidizing condition to reducing condition. Increased concentrations of formic and acetic acids were also observed as dissolved ferrous iron concentration increased. Aquifer solids were found to contain higher concentration of LMWFA's than in ground water. The data indicate that LMWFA's in both ground water and aquifer solid are very important to a better understanding of the details of biodegradation processes.

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Chemistry Commons