Identifying type of refined petroleum products in environmental media: Thin-layer chromatography (TLC) as a quick methodology

Myoung Soo Ko, Dongwook Kwon, Jung Seok Yang, Man Jae Kwon, Seung Woo Lee, Seunghak Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The ultimate goal of our study is to establish thin-layer chromatography (TLC) as a quick and simple method for identifying the type of refined petroleum products present in the environmental media. As a preliminary step, TLC chromatograms of different petroleum products, including gasoline, kerosene, and diesel, were characterized and compared. Methanol was determined as the optimum carrier solution in TLC analysis. The spherical-shaped TLC chromatogram of gasoline showed the longest migration distance, and thus the highest retardation factor (R f) of 0.91. This was followed by that of kerosene (0.63) with an elliptical-shaped, and diesel (0.24) with an elongated trapezoid-shaped chromatogram. R f of kerosene and diesel increased with the dilution factor, while gasoline showed a constant value. Additionally, it was observed that the TLC chromatograms of oils produced the same peak pattern with the corresponding petroleum products in gas chromatography (GC). A mixed sample of kerosene and diesel presented a triangular shaped chromatogram, underlining the need to consider the shape of chromatogram in addition to the R f value, as an indicator of the petroleum type. The findings indicate that TLC has a huge potential to be used as a quick and reliable method for identifying the type of refined petroleum products in the environmental media.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2149
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 12



  • Environmental forensics
  • Refined petroleum products
  • Source identification
  • Thin-layer chromatography (TLC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Pollution

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