New tools for sample preparation and instrumental analysis of dioxins in environmental samples
Sammanfattning: Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) and dibenzofurans (PCDFs), two groups of structurally related chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons, are of high concern due to their global distribution and extreme toxicity. Since they occur at very low levels, their analysis is complex, challenging and hence there is a need for efficient, reliable and rapid alternative analytical methods. Developing such methods was the aim of the project this thesis is based upon.During the first years of the project the focus was on the first parts of the analytical chain (extraction and clean-up). A selective pressurized liquid extraction (SPLE) procedure was developed, involving in-cell clean-up to remove bulk co-extracted matrix components from sample extracts. It was further streamlined by employing a modular pressurized liquid extraction (M-PLE) system, which simultaneously extracts, cleans up and isolates planar PCDD/Fs in a single step. Both methods were validated using a wide range of soil, sediment and sludge reference materials. Using dichloromethane/n-heptane (DCM/Hp; 1/1, v/v) as a solvent, results statistically equivalent to or higher than the reference values were obtained, while an alternative, less harmful non-chlorinated solvent mixture - diethyl ether/n-heptane (DEE/Hp; 1/2, v/v) – yielded data equivalent to those values.Later, the focus of the work shifted to the final instrumental analysis. Six gas chromatography (GC) phases were evaluated with respect to their chromatographic separation of not just the 17 most toxic congeners (2,3,7,8-substituted PCDD/Fs), but all 136 tetra- to octaCDD/Fs. Three novel ionic liquid columns performed much better than previously tested commercially available columns. Supelco SLB-IL61 offered the best overall performance, successfully resolving 106 out of the 136 compounds, and 16 out of the 17 2,3,7,8-substituted PCDD/Fs. Another ionic liquid (SLB-IL111) column provided complementary separation. Together, the two columns separated 128 congeners. The work also included characterization of 22 GC columns’ selectivity and solute-stationary phase interactions. The selectivities were mapped using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of all 136 PCDD/F’s retention times on the columns, while the interactions were probed by analyzing both the retention times and the substances’ physicochemical properties.
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