10 Jul 2023
 | 10 Jul 2023

Measurements of C10-C15 biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) with sorbent tubes

Heidi Hellén, Toni Tykkä, Simon Schallhart, Evdokia Stratigou, Thérèse Salameh, and Maitane Iturrate-Garcia

Abstract. Biogenic Volatile Organic Compound (BVOCs; e.g. terpenes) are highly reactive compounds with very low amount fractions in the air. Due to this, their measurements are challenging and they may suffer losses during sampling, storage and analyses. In this study, the performance of an off-line technique for the measurement of BVOCs based on sorbent tubes sampling was evaluated. Even though online measurements of BVOCs are becoming more and more common, the use of sorbent tubes is expected to continue since they have greater spatial coverage compared to online GC measurements and no infrastructure is needed for sampling. Tested compounds included 8 monoterpenes, 5 sesquiterpenes and 5 oxy BVOCs, which are generally either directly emitted (1,8-cineol, linalool, bornylacetate) or oxidation products (nopinone and 4-methylacetylcyclohexene). Two sorbent materials (Tenax TA and Carbopack B) and four tube materials (stainless steel (SS), SilcoNert 1000, glass and glass coated SS) were used. The laboratory evaluations determined storage stability, breakthrough volumes, suitable tube materials, recoveries from ozone scrubbers and particulate filters and the sampling efficiency. In addition, an intercomparison between two laboratories was conducted.

Of the sorbent materials Tenax TA showed acceptable results for these BVOCs, while with Carbopack B losses and increases of some compounds were detected. Studied compounds were found to be stable in Tenax TA tubes for at least one month at ±20 °C. Breakthrough tests indicated that α- and β-pinene have clearly lower breakthrough volumes in Tenax TA (4–7 and 8–26 L, respectively) than other terpenes (>160 L). SS, SilcoNert 1000 and glass were all shown to be suitable tube materials. Results from Tenax TA sorbent tube sampling agreed with online sampling for most compounds. Heated SS tubes, sodium thiosulfate filters and KI/Cu traps were found to be suitable ozone scrubbers for studied BVOCs. Tested particle filters had a greater impact on limonene than on α- and β-pinene. The laboratory intercomparison of α- and β-pinene measurements showed that in general, measured values by the two laboratories were in good agreement with Tenax TA.

Heidi Hellén et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1109', Anonymous Referee #2, 29 Jul 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Heidi Hellén, 07 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1109', Anonymous Referee #1, 31 Jul 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Heidi Hellén, 07 Sep 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1109', Anonymous Referee #3, 09 Aug 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Heidi Hellén, 07 Sep 2023

Heidi Hellén et al.


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Short summary
Even though online measurements of volatile organic compounds are becoming more and more common, the use of sorbent tubes is expected to continue due to greater spatial coverage and because no infrastructure is needed for sampling. In this study sorbent tube sampling method was optimized and evaluated for the determination of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) in gas-phase samples. Tenax TA sorbent tubes were found to be suitable for the quantitative measurements of C10-C15 BVOCs.