Screening of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in air by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry coupled with solid-phase microextraction

Keywords: screening, air, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, solid-phase microextraction, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry


Screening of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) plays very important role allowing to determine the nature and sources of pollutants into the environment. The aim of this work was to develop a screening method of PAHs in air of Almaty by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) in combination with solid-phase microextraction (SPME). Method development included optimization of parameters of MS detection, thickness of fiber coating - polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), extraction time, application for real samples and comparison with analogous standard techniques.

The program of mass spectrometric detection in the selected ion monitoring mode (SIM) was developed; it included 6 groups of PAHs molecular ions. The highest response of all PAHs was obtained by PDMS coating having thickness 100 µm due to its large volume and capacity. Increase of extraction time increases response of PAHs, saturation of coating starts after 6 (for lighter PAHs) to 24 hours. Optimum extraction time was chosen as 24 hours providing greatest response of all PAHs and their average daily concentrations.

Approbation of the developed technique showed the presence of all PAHs in studied air samples, except benzo[ghi]perylene and indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, which were not detected in 50% of the air samples. During screening, maximum and minimum masses of other PAHs on fiber coating varied from 2.9 to 40 times.

Compared to standard methods, the developed technique is environmentally friendly and requires lower time and cost per analysis. The technique can be recommended for screening and monitoring of PAHs in ambient air of cities, as well as for research.

Author Biographies

Nassiba Baimatova, al-Farabi Kazakh National University

Ph.D. student

Bulat Kenessov, al-Farabi Kazakh National University
Center of Physical Chemical Methods of Research and Analysis
Svetlana Batyrbekova, al-Farabi Kazakh National University
Center of Physical Chemical Methods of Research and Analysis, Chief Scientist


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How to Cite
Baimatova, N., Kenessov, B., & Batyrbekova, S. (2014). Screening of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in air by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry coupled with solid-phase microextraction. Chemical Bulletin of Kazakh National University, 74(2), 19-28.