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Water Sci Technol. 2004;50(4):115-20.

Analysis of sulfur and nitrogen odorants using solid-phase microextraction and GC-MS.

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  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.


An analytical method involving solid-phase micro-extraction (SPME) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was applied to analyze biosolids odors. A selective ion monitoring (SIM)-based MS method was developed, using SPME injections of odorant standards under the full-scan mode to select the quantification and confirmation ions for each odorant. The odorants analyzed in this study include: dimethylsulfide, dimethyldisulfide, methyl mercaptan, hydrogen sulfide, carbon disulfide, trimethylamine and dimethylamine. We have used this method to quantify parts-per-billion levels of odorant vapors produced during anaerobic incubation of digested wastewater sludge. Important considerations for expedient and accurate calibration under static and dynamic flow conditions are discussed. The SPME-GC-MS method may give a positive intercept in the calibration curve, especially under static sampling conditions, which sets a practical detection limit for odor analysis.

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