Highly sensitive determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air dust by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry after molecularly imprinted polymer extraction
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A method based on solid--phase extraction with a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) has been developed to determine five probable human carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in ambient air dust by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Molecularly imprinted poly(vinylpyridine-co-ethylene glycol dimethacrylate) was chosen as solid-phase extraction (SPE) material for PAHs. The conditions affecting extraction efficiency, for example surface properties, concentration of PAHs, and equilibration times were evaluated and optimized. Under optimum conditions, pre-concentration factors for MIP-SPE ranged between 80 and 93 for 10 mL ambient air dust leachate. PAHs recoveries from MIP-SPE after extraction from air dust were between 85% and 97% and calibration graphs of the PAHs showed a good linearity between 10 and 1000 ng L−1 (r = 0.99). The extraction efficiency of MIP for PAHs was compared with that of commercially available SPE materials—powdered activated carbon (PAC) and polystyrene-divinylbenzene resin (XAD)—and it was shown that the extraction capacity of the MIP was better than that of the other two SPE materials. Organic matter in air dust had no effect on MIP extraction, which produced a clean extract for GC-MS analysis. The detection limit of the method proposed in this article is 0.15 ng L−1 for benzo[a]pyrene, which is a marker molecule of air pollution. The method has been applied to the determination of probable carcinogenic PAHs in air dust of industrial zones and satisfactory results were obtained.
KeywordsAmbient air samples Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Solid-phase extraction Molecularly imprinted polymers GC-MS Environmental analysis
This work was supported by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Planning Commission of India under the Supra Institutional Project: Molecular Environmental Science (grant number SIP-16/3.3). B.B wishes to thank the CSIR for financial help through a Senior Research Fellowship.
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