Quantification of 13 priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in human urine by headspace solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography-isotope dilution mass spectrometry

Laura Campo, Rosa Mercadante, Federica Rossella, Silvia Fustinoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are common environmental pollutants in both living and working environments. The aim of this study was the development of a headspace solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography-isotope dilution mass spectrometry (HS-SPME/GC-IDMS) method for the simultaneous quantification of 13 PAHs in urine samples. Different parameters affecting PAHs extraction by HS-SPME were considered and optimized: type/thickness of fiber coatings, extraction temperature/time, desorption temperature/time, ionic strength and sample agitation. The stability of spiked PAHs solutions and of real urine samples stored up to 90 days in containers of different materials was evaluated. In the optimized method, analytes were absorbed for 60 min at 80 °C in the sample headspace with a 100 μm polydimethylsiloxane fiber. The method is very specific, with linear range from the limit of quantification to 8.67 × 103 ng L-1, a within-run precision of 1 ng L-1 range. An application of the proposed method using 15 urine samples from subjects exposed to PAHs at different environmental levels is shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-205
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 12 2009



  • Biological monitoring
  • Solid-phase microextraction
  • Urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Environmental Chemistry

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