Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 16, pp 4523–4534 | Cite as

Determination of hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by HPLC-photoionization tandem mass spectrometry in wood smoke particles and soil samples

  • Rozanna Avagyan
  • Robin Nyström
  • Christoffer Boman
  • Roger Westerholm
Paper in Forefront


A simple and fast method for analysis of hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons using pressurized liquid extraction and high performance liquid chromatography utilizing photoionization tandem mass spectrometry was developed. Simultaneous separation and determination of nine hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and two hydroxy biphenyls could be performed in negative mode with a run time of 12 min, including equilibration in 5 min. The calibration curves were in two concentration ranges; 1–50 ng/mL and 0.01–50 μg/mL, with coefficients of correlation R 2 > 0.997. The limits of detection and method quantification limits were in the range of 9–56 pg and 5–38 ng/g, respectively. A two-level full factorial experimental design was used for screening of conditions with the highest impact on the extraction. The extraction procedure was automated and suitable for a large number of samples. The extraction recoveries ranged from 70 to 102 % and the matrix effects were between 92 and 104 %. The overall method was demonstrated on wood smoke particles and soil samples with good analytical performance, and five OH-PAHs were determined in the concentration range of 0.19–210 μg/g. As far as we know, hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were determined in wood smoke and soil samples using photoionization mass spectrometry for the first time in this present study. Accordingly, this study shows that high performance liquid chromatography photoionization tandem mass spectrometry can be a good option for the determination of hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in complex environmental samples.

Graphical Abstract

The method developed in this study was used to determine hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in wood smoke and soil


HPLC-APPI-MS/MS Photoionization Hydroxylated PAHs OH-PAHs Wood smoke Soil 



Ioannis Sadiktsis is acknowledged for the valuable comments on the manuscript and Hamid Ahmadi for skillful laboratory assistance. Robert Lindgren is acknowledged for his contributions to the wood combustion experiments. This study has been financed by Stockholm University and Umeå University.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rozanna Avagyan
    • 1
  • Robin Nyström
    • 2
  • Christoffer Boman
    • 2
  • Roger Westerholm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, Arrhenius LaboratoryStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, Thermochemical Energy Conversion LaboratoryUmeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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