Seventeen hydrocarbons and fifteen oxygenated compounds were identified as products from mild oxidation of o-xylene. These compounds generally had boiling points at 220°C or lower and varied in concentration from 0.003 to 3.5 wt. %. What would normally have been a formidable analytical problem was solved with comparative ease using a gas chromatograph augmented by infrared spectral examination of chromatographic fractions and high molecular-weight mass spectrometry. The gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer apparatus was improved so that it can measure the mass spectra of compounds boiling as high as 350°C.

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