Field Sampling Method for Quantifying Odorants in Humid Environments

Date
2008-05-15
Authors
Trabue, Steven
Xin, Hongwei
Scoggin, Kenwood
Li, Hong
Burns, Robert
Xin, Hongwei
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
Abstract

Most air quality studies in agricultural environments use thermal desorption analysis for quantifying semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) associated with odor. The objective of this study was to develop a robust sampling technique for measuring SVOCs in humid environments. Test atmospheres were generated at ambient temperatures (23 ± 1.5 °C) and 25, 50, and 80% relative humidity (RH). Sorbent material used included Tenax, graphitized carbon, and carbon molecular sieve (CMS). Sorbent tubes were challenged with 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 L of air at various RHs. Sorbent tubes with CMS material performed poorly at both 50 and 80% RH due to excessive sorption of water. Heating of CMS tubes during sampling or dry-purging of CMS tubes post sampling effectively reduced water sorption with heating of tubes being preferred due to the higher recovery and reproducibility. Tenax tubes had breakthrough of the more volatile compounds and tended to form artifacts with increasing volumes of air sampled. Graphitized carbon sorbent tubes containing Carbopack X and Carbopack C performed best with quantitative recovery of all compounds at all RHs and sampling volumes tested. The graphitized carbon tubes were taken to the field for further testing. Field samples taken from inside swine feeding operations showed that butanoic acid, 4-methylphenol, 4-ethylphenol, indole, and 3-methylindole were the compounds detected most often above their odor threshold values. Field samples taken from a poultry facility demonstrated that butanoic acid, 3-methylbutanoic acid, and 4-methylphenol were the compounds above their odor threshold values detected most often.

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Posted with permission from Environmental Science and Technology 42, no. 10 (2008): 3745–3750, doi: 10.1021/es7031407. Copyright 2008 American Chemical Society.

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