Diamondoid diacids ('O4 ' species) in oil sands process-affected water.
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As a by-product of oil sands extraction, large volumes of oil sands process water (OSPW) are generated, which are contaminated with a large range of water-soluble organic compounds. The acids are thought to be derived from hydrocarbons via natural biodegradation pathways such as α- and β-oxidation of alkyl substituents, which could produce mono- and diacids, for example. However, while several monoacids ('O2 ' species) have been identified, the presence of diacids (i.e. 'O4 ' species) has only been deduced from results obtained via Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance high-resolution mass spectrometry (FTICR-HRMS) and nuclear magnetic resonance ((1) H-NMR) spectroscopy and the structures have never been confirmed.
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