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Automated Approach for Determination of BTEX in Soil

Martin Perkins

2nd March 2016


Soil can become contaminated with benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTEX compounds) from a number of sources. This group of compounds may pose potential human health and ecological risk and benzene has been classified as carcinogenic to humans and animals. Extraction with methanol followed by GC-MS analysis is a common method employed for their determination, but manual procedures can be time consuming and repetitive.  The automation of this method offers a number of advantages and by using the PrepAhead function on the GERSTEL MPS, analysis times can be considerably shortened, whilst maintaining method performance. Spiked soil samples were extracted with methanol and centrifuged, after which an aliquot of the supernatant was taken for headspace analysis. The calibration plots showed good linearity (r2>0.998) and mean recoveries were 98-100% with RSDs <10% (n=5)demonstrating the potential of automation to provide cheaper, faster and more reliable test results for this analysis.

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