Molecular characterization of samples from animals, soil, and liquids often involve chromatographic techniques. Gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry is especially suitable for volatile and semivolatile organic compounds. Initial sample preparation typically involves derivatization or extraction of analytes into organic solvents leading to selectivity and dilution. The dilution leads to higher detection limits unless the solvent is evaporated, which leads to loss of volatile analytes. Advanced automated sampling techniques such as thermal desorption and dynamic headspace can avoid the use of organic solvents allowing for more direct analysis with improved detection limits.
In this project, we investigate the potential for developing sampling probes combined with thermal desorption to analyze volatile organic compounds in soil. The use of solid phase extraction and dynamic headspace is investigated to analyze semivolatile compounds and compounds adsorbed to soil.