A rapid and environmental-friendly injection-port derivatization with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) method was developed to determine selected low-molecular weight (LMW) dicarboxylic acids (from C2 to C10) in atmospheric aerosol samples. The parameters related to the derivatization process (i.e., type of ion-pair reagent, injection-port temperature and concentration of ion-pair reagent) were optimized. Tetrabutylammonium hydroxide (TBA-OH) 20 mM in methanol gave excellent yield for di-butyl ester dicarboxylate derivatives at injection-port temperature at 300 °C. Solid-phase extraction (SPE) method instead of rotary evaporation was used to concentrate analytes from filter extracts. The recovery from filter extracts ranged from 78 to 95% with relative standard deviation (RSD) less than 12%. Limits of quantitation (LOQs) ranged from 25 to 250 pg/m3. The concentrations of di-carboxylated C2-C5 and total C6-C10 in particles of atmospheric aerosols ranged from 91.9 to 240, 11.3 to 56.7, 9.2 to 49.2, 8.7 to 35.3 and n.d. to 37.8 ng/m3, respectively. Oxalic acid (C2) was the dominant LMW-dicarboxylic acids detected in aerosol samples. The quantitative results were comparable to the results obtained by the off-line derivatization.
- Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
- Injection-port derivatization
- Low-molecular weight dicarboxylic acids