Determination of hydrogen sulfide and volatile thiols in air samples by mercury probe derivatization coupled with liquid chromatography-atomic fluorescence spectrometry

TitleDetermination of hydrogen sulfide and volatile thiols in air samples by mercury probe derivatization coupled with liquid chromatography-atomic fluorescence spectrometry
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBramanti, E, D'Ulivo, L, Lomonte, C, Onor, M, Zamboni, R, Raspi, G, D'Ulivo, A
JournalANALYTICA CHIMICA ACTA
Volume579
Pagination38–46
ISSN0003-2670
Abstract

A new procedure is proposed for the sampling and storage of hydrogen sulphide (His) and volatile thiols (methanethiol or methyl mercaptan, ethanethiol and propanethiol) for their determination by liquid chromatography. The sampling procedure is based on the trapping/pre-concentration of the analytes in alkaline aqueous solution containing an organic mercurial probe p-hydroxymercurybenzoate, HO-Hg-C6H4-COO- (PHMB), where they are derivatized to stable PHMB complexes based on mercury-sulfur covalent bonds. PHMB complexes are separated on a C18 reverse phase column, allowing their determination by liquid chromatography coupled with sequential non-selective UV-vis (DAD) and mercury specific (chemical vapor generation atomic fluorescence spectrometry, CVGAFS) on-line detectors. PHMB complexes, S(PHMB)(2)CH3S-PHMB, C2H5S-PHMB and C3H7S-PHMB, are stable all least for 12 h at room temperature and for 3 months if stored frozen (-20 degrees C). The best analytical figures of merits in the optimized conditions were obtained by CVGAFS detection, with detection limits (LODc) of 9.7 mu g L-1 for H2S, 13.7 mu g L-1 for CH3SH, 17.7 mu g L-1 for C2H5SH and 21.7 mu g L-1 for C3H7SH in the trapping solution in form of RS-PHMB complexes, the relative standard deviation (R.S.D.) ranging between 1.0 and 1.5%, and a linear dynamic range (LDR) between 10 and 9700 mu g L-1. Conventional UV absorbance detectors tuned at 254 nm can be employed as well with comparable R.S.D. and LDR, but with LODc one order of magnitude higher than AFS detector and lower specificity. The sampling procedure followed by LC-DAD-CVGAFS analysis has been validated, as example, for H2S determination by a certified gas permeation tube as a source of 3.071 +/- 0.154 mu g min(-1) of H2S, giving a recovery of 99.8 +/- 7% and it has been applied to the determination of sulfur compounds in real gas samples (biogas and the air of a plant for fractional distillation of crude oil). (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI10.1016/j.aca.2006.07.004