Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 409, Issue 8, pp 2065–2074 | Cite as

The quantification of short-chain chlorinated paraffins in sediment samples using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography with μECD detection

  • Alina M. Muscalu
  • Dave Morse
  • Eric J. ReinerEmail author
  • Tadeusz Górecki
Research Paper


The analysis of persistent organic pollutants in environmental samples is a challenge due to the very large number of compounds with varying chemical and physical properties. Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) are complex mixtures of chlorinated n-alkanes with varying chain lengths (C10 to C30) and degree of chlorination (30 to 70% by weight). Their physical-chemical properties make these compounds persistent in the environment and able to bioaccumulate in living organisms. Comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC × GC) coupled with micro-electron capture detection (μECD) was used to separate and quantify short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCP) in sediment samples. Distinct ordered bands were observed in the GC × GC chromatograms pointing to group separation. Using the Classification function of the ChromaTOF software, summary tables were generated to determine total area counts to set up multilevel-calibration curves for different technical mixes. Fortified sediment samples were analyzed by GC × GC-μECD with minimal extraction and cleanup. Recoveries ranged from 120 to 130%. To further validate the proposed method for the analysis of SCCPs, the laboratory participated in interlaboratory studies for the analysis of standards and sediment samples. The results showed recoveries between 75 and 95% and z-score values <2, demonstrating that the method is suitable for the analysis of SCCPs in soil/sediment samples.

Graphical abstract

Quantification of SCCPs by 2D-GC-μECD


Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCP) Multidimensional chromatography (GCxGC) Environmental analysis Electron capture detection (ECD) 



The authors would like to thank Sean Backus and Libia Saborido Basconcillo of the Environment Canada for providing valuable information and support for this study. We would also like to thank Vedrana Pantelic of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change for the support during the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

216_2016_153_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.2 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 784 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alina M. Muscalu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dave Morse
    • 1
  • Eric J. Reiner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tadeusz Górecki
    • 2
  1. 1.Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC)TorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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