Environmental Analysis

Optimized Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Analysis by GC-MS

Some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are carcinogenic so trace-level monitoring of air, water, and soil samples is essential for assessing exposure. This application note shows how PAH analysis by GC-MS using an Rxi-SVOCms column provides effective detection of the most relevant compounds.

App2_Nov22Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants that form both naturally and due to human activities, primarily through the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials. Because some polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are carcinogenic, trace-level monitoring of air, water, and soil samples is essential for assessing exposure. PAH analysis by GC-MS using an Rxi-SVOCms column, under the optimized conditions detailed in the application note, provides effective detection of the most relevant compounds.

Using SIM mode and split injection to minimize inlet discrimination for a challenging coal tar sample, good chromatographic performance was seen for a range of PAH compounds. Volatile early eluting compounds exhibit good peak shapes and responses while low column bleed minimizes background interference and improves sensitivity for late eluting compounds. In addition, the efficiency and selectivity of the Rxi-SVOCms column provided good separation of isobaric PAHs, such as benzo[b]fluoranthene and benzo[k]fluoranthene. Good resolution was also obtained for indeno[123-cd]pyrene and dibenz[ah]anthracene (even when there is a disproportionate response), which minimizes the potential for biased results and reporting false positives.

This application note demonstrates how:-

  • the Rxi-SVOCms column provides good separation and response for critical environmental PAH compounds
  • low column bleed ensures accuracy for late-eluting target analytes
  • split injection SIM analysis minimizes inlet discrimination.

Find out more about PAH analysis by GC-MS >>

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