Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 406, Issue 2, pp 643–655 | Cite as

An assessment of the liquid–gas partitioning behavior of major wastewater odorants using two comparative experimental approaches: liquid sample-based vaporization vs. impinger-based dynamic headspace extraction into sorbent tubes

  • Mohammad Asif Iqbal
  • Ki-Hyun KimEmail author
  • Jan E. Szulejko
  • Jinwoo Cho
Research Paper


The gas–liquid partitioning behavior of major odorants (acetic acid, propionic acid, isobutyric acid, n-butyric acid, i-valeric acid, n-valeric acid, hexanoic acid, phenol, p-cresol, indole, skatole, and toluene (as a reference)) commonly found in microbially digested wastewaters was investigated by two experimental approaches. Firstly, a simple vaporization method was applied to measure the target odorants dissolved in liquid samples with the aid of sorbent tube/thermal desorption/gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. As an alternative method, an impinger-based dynamic headspace sampling method was also explored to measure the partitioning of target odorants between the gas and liquid phases with the same detection system. The relative extraction efficiency (in percent) of the odorants by dynamic headspace sampling was estimated against the calibration results derived by the vaporization method. Finally, the concentrations of the major odorants in real digested wastewater samples were also analyzed using both analytical approaches. Through a parallel application of the two experimental methods, we intended to develop an experimental approach to be able to assess the liquid-to-gas phase partitioning behavior of major odorants in a complex wastewater system. The relative sensitivity of the two methods expressed in terms of response factor ratios (RFvap/RFimp) of liquid standard calibration between vaporization and impinger-based calibrations varied widely from 981 (skatole) to 6,022 (acetic acid). Comparison of this relative sensitivity thus highlights the rather low extraction efficiency of the highly soluble and more acidic odorants from wastewater samples in dynamic headspace sampling.


Odorants Vaporization Dynamic headspace Impinger system Relative recovery Wastewater 



This work was supported by a grant from the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (no. 2009-0093848).

Supplementary material

216_2013_7489_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (686 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 685 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Asif Iqbal
    • 1
  • Ki-Hyun Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jan E. Szulejko
    • 1
  • Jinwoo Cho
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environment and EnergySejong UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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