Journal of environmental monitoring : JEM

Development of a solid phase microextraction (SPME) method for the sampling of VOC traces in indoor air.

PMID 16395466


Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) was studied for the measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor air. An adsorptive PDMS/Carboxen fibre was used and an analytical methodology was developed in order to overcome competitive adsorption. Kinetics and adsorption isotherms were investigated for different sample volumes and model compounds. In order to evaluate competitive adsorption on the fibre, these compounds were studied alone and in mixture. From the results obtained, the operating conditions allowing co-adsorption of the target compounds were determined: the air sample is enclosed in a 250 mL glass bulb where the SPME fibre is exposed until adsorption equilibrium. This procedure was combined with GC/MS analysis for the identification and quantification of VOCs in indoor air. The performances were determined by using a standard gas containing 10 VOCs representative of indoor environments (acetaldehyde, acetone, BTX, alpha-pinene, trichloroethylene, alkanes). The detection limits were determined in single ion monitoring mode and for a signal to noise ratio of 3. Except acetaldehyde (6 microg m(-3)), they are all below 0.5 microg m(-3). Calibration curves are linear up to 10 micromol m(-3) for all the compounds with good correlation coefficients (above 0.99). The reproducibility ranges from 6 to 12% according to the compound. The methodology was then applied to the comparison of the VOCs content in classrooms of two different schools.