Research objectives and content
Contaminated soils represent a dangerous potential for plants, animals and humans. Unfortunately several substances, such as PAHs are only poorly degradable or are degraded to sometimes even more toxic metabolites of its species. Compared to the parent PAH the metabolites show high water solubility and thus increased mobility in the soil. Consequently, they might be a serious threat for our ground water resources. However, most current standard analytical procedures fail to detect these compounds. Analytical methods will be developed for the determination of the (commercially) available target metabolites of Phenanthrene and Fluoranthene in a first approach. Extraction, clean-up and detection methodology have to be developed and optimised for these metabolites. In particular for soils the extraction process is the crucial step in analytical methodology for PAHs and their metabolites. Different modern extraction techniques like SFE (supercritical fluid extraction) will be applied and optimised in this project.
Separation and determination of the analytes will be performed by reversed phase liquid chromatography (RP-LC) using diode array (DAD) and/or fluorescence (FLD) as detectors. For the sensitive determination of polar compounds (e.g. metabolites of PAHs) liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy (LC-MS) with an APCI (atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation) interface will be used. Additional measurements by GCMS when necessary are also planned.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The main objective of this project is the development of analytical methodology for the analysis of PAHs and some of their metabolites in soils and sediments. This training will be very useful for the professional career in Spain because of an urgent need for characterisation of organic micropollutants in this country due to a heavy load of soil and water with toxic compounds.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The analytical methodology obtained in this project will give the possibility to SMEs (small and medium size enterprises) to investigate the mechanism of degradation and optimal remediation conditions of PAHs