This paper describes the analysis of volatile petrochemical hydrocarbons (VPH) in environmental samples to monitor their fate, the risk to human health and to plan appropriate remediation strategies.
VPH analysis has previously been performed using headspace(HS) and/or purge-and-trap techniques coupled with one-dimensional gas chromatography and detected by flame ionisation detection, photo ionisation detection or mass spectrometry. However, such techniques are subject to inherent bias due to co-elutions between non-petroleum hydrocarbons and the petroleum hydrocarbons of interest, resulting in quantitative values that either over-estimate or underestimate the target compounds.
Here, we overcome this issue by employing comprehensive two-dimensional GC (GC×GC) for enhanced separation of the petroleum hydrocarbons and improved quantitative precision. We also show how HS–GC×GC–FID with INSIGHT® flow modulation can be used for reliable and fully automated VPH quantitation.