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International Journal of Analytical Chemistry
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2834575, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/2834575
Research Article

Direct Analysis of Low-Volatile Molecular Marker Extract from Airborne Particulate Matter Using Sensitivity Correction Method

Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry and Department of Chemistry, York University, 4700 Keels Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M3J 1P3

Received 3 November 2015; Accepted 10 March 2016

Academic Editor: Josef Havel

Copyright © 2016 Satoshi Irei. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Molecular marker analysis of environmental samples often requires time consuming preseparation steps. Here, analysis of low-volatile nonpolar molecular markers (5-6 ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs, hopanoids, and n-alkanes) without the preseparation procedure is presented. Analysis of artificial sample extracts was directly conducted by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). After every sample injection, a standard mixture was also analyzed to make a correction on the variation of instrumental sensitivity caused by the unfavorable matrix contained in the extract. The method was further validated for the PAHs using the NIST standard reference materials (SRMs) and then applied to airborne particulate matter samples. Tests with the SRMs showed that overall our methodology was validated with the uncertainty of ~30%. The measurement results of airborne particulate matter (PM) filter samples showed a strong correlation between the PAHs, implying the contributions from the same emission source. Analysis of size-segregated PM filter samples showed that their size distributions were found to be in the PM smaller than 0.4 μm aerodynamic diameter. The observations were consistent with our expectation of their possible sources. Thus, the method was found to be useful for molecular marker studies.