Capillary electrophoresis, synchronous fluorescence, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, oh pah, metabolites, milk, urine


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are a class of environmental pollutants consisting of a minimum of two fused aromatics rings originating from the incomplete combustion of organic matter and/or anthropogenic sources. Numerous possible anthropogenic and natural sources make the presence of PAH ubiquitous in the environment. The carcinogenic nature of some PAH and their ubiquitous presence makes their chemical analysis a topic of environmental and toxicological importance. Although environmental monitoring of PAH is an important step to prevent exposure to contaminated sites, it provides little information on the actual uptake and subsequent risks. Parent PAH are relatively inert and need metabolic activation to express their carcinogenicity. Covalent binding to DNA appears to be the first critical step in the initiation of the tumor formation process. To this end, the determination of short term biomarkers – such as monohydroxy-PAH metabolites (OH-PAH) - fills an important niche to interpret actual PAH exposure levels, prevent extreme body burdens and minimize cancer risk. One would certainly prefer an early warning parameter over a toxicological endpoint – such as DNA-adducts – indicating that extensive damage has already been done. Several methods have been developed to determine OH-PAH in specific tissue or excreta and food samples. The general trend for the analysis of OH-PAH follows the pattern of sample collection, sample clean-up and pre-concentration, chromatographic separation and quantification. Popular approaches for sample clean-up and preconcentration include liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) and solid-phase extraction (SPE). Chromatographic separation and quantification has been based on high-performance liquid iv chromatography-room temperature fluorescence detection (HPLC) and gas chromatographymass spectrometry (GC-MS). Although chromatographic techniques provide reliable results in the analysis of OHPAH, their experimental procedures are time consuming and expensive. Elution times of 30-60 minutes are typical and standards must be run periodically to verify retention times. If the concentrations of target species are found to lie outside the detector’s response range, the sample must be diluted and the process repeated. On the other end of the concentration range, many samples are “zeroes,” i.e. the concentrations are below detection limits. Additional problems arise when laboratory procedures are scaled up to handle thousands of samples under mass screening conditions. Under the prospective of a sustainable environment, the large usage of organic solvents is one of the main limitations of the current chromatographic methodology. This dissertation focuses on the development of a screening methodology for the analysis of OH-PAH in urine and milk samples. Screening techniques capable of providing a “yes or no” answer to OH-PAH contamination prevent unnecessary scrutiny of un-contaminated samples via conventional methods, reduce analysis cost and expedite the turnaround time for decision making purposes. The proposed methodology is based on capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) and synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy (SFS). Metabolites extraction and pre-concentration is achieved with optimized SPE, LLE and/or QuEChERS (quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe) procedures. The small sample and extracting solvent volumes facilitate the simultaneous extraction of numerous samples via an environmentally friendly procedure, which is well-suited for routine monitoring of numerous samples. Sample stacking is successfully implemented to improve CZE limits of detection by two orders of magnitude. The unique electrophoretic pattern of positional isomers of OH-PAH demonstrates the potential of CZE for v the unambiguous determination of metabolites with similar chromatographic behaviors and virtually similar fragmentation patterns. The direct determination of OH-PAH without chromatographic separation is demonstrated via SFS. The non-destructive nature of SFS provides ample opportunity for further metabolite confirmation via chromatographic techniques


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Graduation Date





Campiglia, Andres


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic

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