Application Brief

Fast Analysis of 18 PAHs Using a Quasar SPP PAH Column


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of lipophilic and ubiquitous environmental pollutants, consisting of multiple fused rings. They can enter the environment through natural sources (e.g. forest fires and volcanoes) and anthropogenic activities (e.g. incomplete combustion of fossils fuels and organic matter). They are also present in smoked/barbecued foods. Many PAHs exhibit toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic behaviors, and due to their lipophilic nature they are readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tracts of mammals. While hundreds of PAHs exist, sixteen are on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) priority pollutant list, and are routinely monitored via EPA Methods 550.1 (drinking water), 610 (waste water), and 8310 (ground water and solid waste). These regulated methods employ routine analysis by HPLC, using UV and fluorescence detection. Depending on the matrix, additional PAHs are often also monitored as part of the analysis, including alkyl substituted PAHs such as 1-methylnapthalene and 2-methylnapthalene. This application brief describes the use of a Quasar SPP PAH column for the analysis of 18 PAH compounds (including 16 of those outlined in the EPA methods, and two which are commonly added).