Hybrid Targeted-Nontargeted Analysis of Environmental Air Samples

  • Author / Creator
    Argento, Brittany M.
  • Air pollution is a global issue which has an impact on various aspects of life with a vast range of pollutants being monitored with different methods. One class of pollutants is the volatile organic compounds and their presence in the air requires improved methods to accurately report the contaminants present. Improved reporting is necessary as current methods are designed to report target compounds, but other volatile organic compounds present in the air can slip through the cracks using these target lists. Therefore, traditional methods have the risk of compounds being missed due to them not being on the target lists. These unknown compounds could also be important in monitoring air quality due to their impact on human health. New methods are needed to determine the presence of both target compounds and unknown compounds through nontargeted analysis. These methods are referred to as hybrid targeted-nontargeted methods and in this work, this is possible using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography. This instrumentation coupled with thermal desorption enables a hybrid targeted-nontargeted method for the analysis of volatile organic compounds in air. Applying this instrumentation to environmental air monitoring can allow for complex samples to be analyzed with more compounds being detected over traditional methods.
    Method development has taken place to create a hybrid targeted-nontargeted method for volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere using thermal desorption. Coupling the hybrid method to thermal desorption allows for increased detection of analytes while also simplifying the sample preparation process. Here the separation parameters were optimized as well as conditions for both stages of the thermal desorption process. Furthermore, the sensitivity of the method was examined through limits of detection and limits of quantification. Various applications of the hybrid method have been explored both in outdoor applications and indoor locations to see the variety of volatile compounds which can be present. Overall, a novel hybrid targeted-nontargeted method has been developed for the purpose of air monitoring with the eventuality of being used in an environmental monitoring laboratory. Field applications have shown that there are many compounds which can be present in the air are not on the target list. The work seen in this MSc. thesis has provided a groundwork for a hybrid method for the detection of volatile organic compounds in the air which can be employed for better monitoring of air quality.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.