Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 393, Issue 6–7, pp 1697–1707

Evaluation of gas chromatography columns for the analysis of the 15 + 1 EU-priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Original Paper


Three different stationary phases were investigated for the analysis of the 15 + 1 EU-priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In addition to the most commonly used 5% phenyl methylpolysiloxane, a mid-polar phase (50% phenyl methylpolysiloxane) and a recently commercialised mid-polar to polar phase (Optima® δ-6), were evaluated. Challenging groups of PAHs in terms of separation, such as the pair dibenz[a,h]anthracene-indeno[1,2,3,-cd]pyrene and the two groups benzo[b]fluoranthene-benzo[k]fluoranthene-benzo[j]fluoranthene and cyclopenta[cd]pyrene-benz[a]anthracene-chrysene, were satisfactorily separated by using the mid-polar phase. Moreover, discrimination in terms of peak height for the heaviest PAHs (caused from the strong interaction of these compounds with the stationary phase) was reduced without compromising the resolution of the other target analytes when applying the mid-polar phase in a tailor-made column geometry (20 m × 0.18 mm internal diameter and 0.14 μm film thickness) in combination with optimised chromatographic conditions. A significant enhancement of the analytical sensitivity for dibenzopyrenes is demonstrated with an almost threefold increase of the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio for dibenzo[a,h]pyrene, the last eluting PAH. The ability of the selected column to separate potentially interfering PAHs from the target analytes in both solvent solutions and food extracts is demonstrated.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) 15 + 1 EU-priority PAHs GC-MS Stationary phase Peak height discrimination Resolution 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Commission, Joint Research CentreInstitute for Reference Materials and MeasurementsGeelBelgium

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