Simultaneous Determination of 32 Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Derivatives and Parent PAHs Using Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry: Application in Groundwater Screening

  • Tao Zhu
  • Zhu RaoEmail author
  • Feng Guo
  • Nan Zhan
  • Yuan Wang
  • Hamidreza ArandiyanEmail author
  • Xiao-jie Li


A simple, practical and precise method for the simultaneous analysis of 32 different polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) including 16 parent PAHs, 8 oxygenated-PAHs (oxy-PAHs), 4 chloro-PAHs, and 4 nitrogen-containing heterocyclic PACs (N-PACs), in groundwater was established via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) combined with liquid–liquid extraction (LLE). The obtained detection method possesses instrument detection limits (at a signal to noise of 3:1) in the range of 0.05–10 ng/mL and method detection limits in the range of 1.7–13.2 ng/L. The average recoveries of the 32 analytes were in the range of 54.3%–127.0% with relative standard deviations (RSDs) < 20%, and the recoveries of 16 PAH derivatives ranged from 54.3 to 115.1% with RSDs < 17.9%. The method has been successfully applied to the screening of 64 groundwater samples from eastern China. The results revealed that 30 types of targets including 16 PAHs and 14 PAH derivatives were detected and that the groundwater in most areas is slightly polluted, while the pollution of Jiangsu Province and Shandong Province was more serious.


Polycyclic Aromatic hydrocarbon derivatives Groundwater GC–MS Liquid–liquid extraction 



This work was supported by the Geological Survey Project of China (Nos. DD20160312, 121201105000182401, DD20189627).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

128_2018_2462_MOESM1_ESM.docx (380 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 380 KB)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research Center for GeoanalysisChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Ecological GeochemistryMinistry of Natural ResourcesBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of ChemistryThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Laboratory of Advanced Catalysis for Sustainability, School of ChemistryThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.China Building Material Test & Certification Group Co., Ltd.BeijingChina

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