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Assessment of Matrix Effects on Methyl Benzoate, a Potential Biomarker for Detection of Outgassed Semi-Volatiles from Mold in Indoor Building Materials

Abstract

Methyl benzoate – as a biomarker for mold growth – was used as a specific target compound to indicate outgassed MVOC products from mold. Both real and surrogate samples were analyzed from a variety of matrices including: carpet, ceiling tiles, dried paint surfaces, wallboard and wallboard paper. Sampling parameters, including: desorption, extraction time, incubation temperature, pH, salt effects and spinning rate, were optimized. Results suggest that extraction and detection of methyl benzoate amongst other MVOCs can be accomplished cleanly by SPME-GC/MS methods. With detection limits (LOD = 1.5 ppb) and linearity (0.999) over a range of 100 ppm to 2 ppb, this work demonstrates that such a green technique can be contemplated for use in quick assessment or as part of an ongoing assessment strategy to detect mold growth in common indoor buildings and materials for both qualitative and quantitative determinations. Of importance, no matrix effects are observed under optimized extraction conditions.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the Principal’s Research Grant, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Center of Environmental Excellence and InTRD Grant # CEE 06-11 (Corner Brook, NL) and to Varian Technologies, (Montreal, PQ, Canada) for instrumental support.

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Correspondence to Don-Roger Parkinson.

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Parkinson, DR., Churchill, T.J. & Rolls, W. Assessment of Matrix Effects on Methyl Benzoate, a Potential Biomarker for Detection of Outgassed Semi-Volatiles from Mold in Indoor Building Materials. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 81, 494 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-008-9549-8

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Keywords

  • Biomarkers
  • Matrix effects
  • Methyl benzoate
  • Indoor molds