Comparison of extraction and clean-up techniques for the determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in contaminated soil samples

  • T Oluseyi
  • K Olayinka
  • B Alo
  • RM Smith


The development of a fast, efficient and quantitative technique for the extraction, clean-up, and preconcentration of the 16 United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was carried out on contaminated soils. The effect of Soxhlet, ultrasonication and mechanical shaking used in the extraction of a low-level PAH soil certified reference material (CRM131-100) was investigated. Six different extraction solvents: acetone, cyclohexane, 2- propanol, methanol, acetonitrile and dichloromethane, were tested to select the most suitable solvent for the extraction of the 16 PAHs from the certified soil reference material. The results were compared to determine the method with the highest extraction efficiency. The clean up and preconcentration procedures for the PAHs were optimised using the solid phase extraction (SPE). Acetonitrile, dichloromethane and tetrahydrofuran were tested as eluants for the optimisation of SPE clean up. Chromatographic conditions for the separation of PAHs using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) using UV-DAD and fluorimetric detection with programmed excitation and emission wavelengths were also optimised. The optimised ultrasonic extraction procedure and SPE clean-up extracted the PAHs from the certified reference material with recoveries ranging from 63.6 % to over 100%.

Key words: High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), mechanical shaking, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), soil, solid phase extraction (SPE), soxhlet extraction, ultrasonication.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1996-0786
print ISSN: 1996-0786