Optimization of a DNSH passive sampling method to measure airborne carbonyls

Coty Marie Maypole, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Various airborne aldehydes and ketones (i.e., airborne carbonyls) present in outdoor, indoor, and personal air pose a risk to human health at present environmental concentrations. To date, there is no adequate, simple-to-use sampler for monitoring carbonyls at parts per billion concentrations in personal air. The Passive Aldehydes and Ketones Sampler (PAKS) originally developed for this purpose has been found to be unreliable in a number of relatively recent field studies. The PAKS method uses dansylhydrazine, DNSH, as the derivatization agent to produce aldehyde derivatives that are analyzed by HPLC with fluorescence detection. The reasons for the poor performance of the PAKS are not known but it is hypothesized that the chemical derivatization conditions and reaction kinetics combined with a relatively low sampling rate may play a role. This study evaluated the effect of absorption and emission wavelengths, pH of the DNSH coating solution, extraction solvent, and time post-extraction for the yield and stability of formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein DNSH derivatives. The results suggest that the optimum conditions for the analysis of DNSHydrazones are the following. The excitation and emission wavelengths for HPLC analysis should be at 250nm and 500nm, respectively. The optimal pH of the coating solution appears to be pH 2 because it improves the formation of di-derivatized acrolein DNSHydrazones without affecting the response of the derivatives of the formaldehyde and acetaldehyde derivatives. Acetonitrile is the preferable extraction solvent while the optimal time to analyze the aldehyde derivatives is 72 hours post-extraction.

Subject Area

Environmental science

Recommended Citation

Maypole, Coty Marie, "Optimization of a DNSH passive sampling method to measure airborne carbonyls" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1447149.