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Queen's University

Organic Compounds

Most of the organic analyses that we conduct are for organic priority pollutants such as pesticides, PCBs, PAHs, BTEX, and other petroleum products. Gas Chromatography (GC) is the standard methodology. From sample matrices such as soil, water, plants and fish, the analytes are extracted into organic solvents, separated from interfering substances (cleaned up), concentrated and run on the GCs.

Gas Chromatography Vials

Using a variety of different detectors, excellent sensitivity and specificity can be achieved for a whole spectrum of organic compounds. The use of automated sample carousels means that the GCs can be left unattended for overnight operation.

  • The ASU possesses ten automated Gas Chromatography systems: 6 Hewlett Packard and 2 Varian GCs with detectors including FID, ECD, TCD and NPD, and two GCs with mass selective (MS) detectors: a Hewlett Packard 5890 GC with mass selective detector and a Varian 3400 GC with a Saturn II mass selective detector. Three GCs are equipped with Tekmar 'purge and trap' units.
  • Gas Chromatography Mass Selective System

    GC/MS is used to look at volatile organic compounds. Typically, the organic compounds have to be concentrated prior to analysis and this is done by purging the analytes of interest from a sample using an inert gas. This purging process removes the compounds from the sample matrix and deposits them to an absorbent cartridge. This is then heated rapidly and the organics are removed into the GC/MS system in concentrated form.

  • The ASU has expertise in using Immunoassay Test Kits for the analysis of compounds such as PCBs. These are useful when results are needed quickly (within hours) and at remote locations.
  • UV/VIS Spectrometer: a Beckman Instruments Inc DU520 Ultra Violet/Visible Spectrometer for the analysis of organic and inorganic molecules. We use these for specific tests such as for formaldehyde or methylene diisocyanate in air.
  • Fourier Transform Infra-Red Spectrometer (FTIR): a FTIR instrument from ATI Mattson, Genesis model, for the determination of organic/inorganic functionalities. We use the instrument general for the identification of organic compounds in unknown samples and for specific analytes such as oil mist in air.
  • A Technicon autoanalyzer system for the analysis of phenols in water down to 1 ppb.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000