Field Analysis of Total PCBs in Soils by Thermal Desorption/GC and Determination of the Individual PCB Congeners by GC X GC - TOF-MS

by Li, Xiaojing

Abstract (Summary)
Environmental field analysis provides advantages that allow real-time decisions, interactive sampling and cost effective solutions to the problems faced at the time of investigation. Gas chromatography (GC), a widespread technique for the determination of organic pollutants in the environment, has also shown to be useful in environmental field analysis. Thermal desorption of solid environmental sample provides a technique for liberation of volatile analytes from the samples without the need for solvent extraction. Combining the thermal desorption technique with a field gas chromatograph (GC) thus provides the possibility of on-site determination of organic contaminants in soils. However, to better characterize trace level contaminants in complex sample matrices, laboratory analysis using analytical instrument with great separation and resolution power is required. Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC X GC) is such a powerful analytical tool that provides enhanced separation and resolution capacity for the task.

The project presented here involves the development and validation of a field method for the analysis of total polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in soils, and determination of individual PCB congeners in the same samples by further laboratory analysis. The field analytical system developed was a field portable GC interfaced with a thermal desorber. The identification of PCB congeners was realized by a GC X GC system with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOF-MS) as a detector. The field method was developed by optimizing and characterizing the method using PCB standards, followed by the application of the developed method to environmental soil samples. Finally, analyses of PCB congeners in environmental soil samples were performed using the GC X GC system.

Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Waterloo

School Location:Canada - Ontario

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:pcbs thermal desorption gc x tof ms chemistry


Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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