Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 184, Issue 5, pp 2893–2907 | Cite as

HS-SPME/GC–MS analysis of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds emitted from municipal sewage sludge

  • Urszula KotowskaEmail author
  • Maciej Żalikowski
  • Valery A. Isidorov
Open Access


The aim of the research involved identification and semi-quantitative determination of unknown volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds emitted to air by sewage sludge formed in the process of municipal wastewater treatment in a sewage treatment plant. Samples taken directly after completion of the technological process as well as the sludge stored on the premise of the sewage treatment plant were analyzed. A simple method using off-line headspace solid-phase microextraction combined with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry has been proposed for extraction and detection of organic pollutants. For reliable identification of compounds, combination of two independent parameters: mass spectra and linear temperature programmed retention indices were employed. Over 170 compounds of different structure were identified including aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, alcohols, esters, carbonyls, as well as sulfur, nitrogen, and chlorine containing compounds. The prevailing substances included: ethyl ether, n-hexane, p-xylene, o-xylene, mesitylene, m-ethylbenzene, limonene, n-decane, n-undecane, and n-dodecane. A few compounds such as methanetiol, dimethyl polisulfide, octaatomic sulfur, phthalic anhydride, and indoles were identified in the sludge for the first time.


Sewage sludge Organic compounds HS-SPME GC–MS 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Urszula Kotowska
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maciej Żalikowski
    • 1
  • Valery A. Isidorov
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ChemistryUniversity of BialystokBialystokPoland

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