The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a new and improved analytical methodology for the analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polycyclic aromatic sulfur heterocycles (PASHs) in environmental samples. Hundreds of PAHs and PASHs are present in the environment and have great toxicological importance and the chemical determination of these components is a priority. The complete normal-phase liquid chromatography (NPLC) retention behavior has been explored for these compounds. Retention indices were determined for 124 PAHs, 62 methyl-PAHs (MePAHs), 67 PASHs, and 80 alkyl-PASHs on an aminopropyl (NH2) stationary phase which represents the most comprehensive study of polycyclic aromatic compounds in normal phase conditions to date. NPLC retention behavior for PAHs and PASHs directly correlated to the total number of aromatic carbons in the parent structures. The normal-phase retention behavior information was used to develop an NPLC fractionation procedure to aid in the sample cleanup for complex environmental matrices which can later be analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). Standard Reference Material (SRM) 1597a (complex mixture of PAHs in coal tar), SRM 1991 (coal tar/petroleum extract), and SRM 1975 (diesel particulate extract) were analyzed before and after NPLC fractionation by using GC/MS. In SRM 1597a, the NPLC-GC/MS method allowed for the identification of 72 PAHs, 56 Me-PAHs, 35 PASHs, and 59 alkyl-PASHs. The NPLC-GC/MS procedure also provided the tentative identification of 74 PAHs and 117 MePAHs based on the molecular ion peak only. Furthermore, this method allowed for the following identification breakdown: SRM 1991–31 PASHs and 58 alkyl-PASHs; and SRM 1975–13 PASHs and 25 alkyl-PASHs. Additional work related to the NPLC fractionation of SRM 1597 included the collection of room-temperature fluorescence spectra for the 21 PAHs with molecular mass (MM) 302 Da known to be in SRM 1597a during reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) separation. Adding spectral features to a chromatographic run provided the tentative identification of 20 PAHs based on retention times and the presence of 18 were confirmed on the basis of spectral profiles. The advancements in liquid chromatography presented in this dissertation via NPLC fractionation along with RPLC stop-flow fluorescence spectra collection shows potential for becoming routine methodologies for PAC determination in complex environmental samples.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Hayes, Hugh, "Advancements in Liquid Chromatography for the Determination of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds in Environmental Samples" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5951.