A novel method for the measurement of VOCs in seawater using needle traps devices and GC-MS

A novel analytical method using newly developed Needle Trap Devices (NTDs) and a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GC-MS) system was developed. It has been applied for the first time on seawater samples to quantify marine volatile organic compounds (VOC) relevant to atmospheric chemistry and climate. By purging gases from small water volumes (10 ml) onto sealable NTDs and then desorbing them thermally within the GC injection port, an effective analysis of a wide range of VOCs (isoprene to α-pinene) was achieved within 23 minutes. Good repeatability (RSDs < 16%), linearity (r2 = 0.96 – 0.99) and limits of detection in the range of pM were obtained for all examined compounds. Following laboratory validation, the NTD method was applied in a mesocosm field study in a Norwegian Fjord. Nine individual mesocosm ecosystems under different CO2 regimes were examined. Dimethylsulphide (DMS), isoprene and monoterpenes were identified and quantified in mesocosm seawater. The DMS measurements are compared with parallel measurements provided by an independent P&T GC-FPD system showing good correlation, r2 = 0.8. Our study indicates that the NTD method can be used successfully in place of the traditionally used extraction techniques (P&T, SPME) in marine environments to extend the suite of species typically measured and improve detection limits.

Mesarchaki E., Yassaa N., Hein D., Lutterbeck H. E., Zindler C. & Williams J., in press. A novel method for the measurement of VOCs in seawater using needle traps devices and GC-MS. Marine Chemistry. Article.

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