Using NIST Standard Reference Materials 1597a, 1941b and 1975 to Verify Chromatographic Resolution of Target Analytes from Isobaric Interferences while Performing Detailed Analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Oral Presentation

Prepared by C. Rattray
Restek Corporation, 110 Benner Circle, Bellefonte, PA, 16823, United States

Contact Information:; 814-353-1300


In the United States, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) analysis of environmental samples is typically performed by Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) using a 5% diphenyl-type GC column. While this column type can separate the sixteen priority PAHs registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) from each other, it cannot separate all the less toxic isobaric isomers from these sixteen toxic congeners. This can result in a mischaracterization of sample toxicity because many of the EPA methods do not require reporting of these coelutions. Some of the most common coelutions are triphenylene and chrysene (m/z 228) and the [b], [j] and [k] benzo fluoranthene isomers (m/z 252).

This presentation will describe how we incorporated Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) 1597a (PAHs in Coal Tar), 1941b (Organics in Marine Sediment) and 1975 (Diesel Particulate Extract) to validate a new GC column phase for the detailed analysis of PAH isomers in environmental matrices using the certified and reference concentrations to rule out the occurrence of coelutions that would present as errors in quantification.