Solid-Phase Microextraction as a Novel Air Sampling Technology for Improved, GC—Olfactometry-Based Assessment of Livestock Odors

Hoff, Steven
Koziel, Jacek
Cai, Lingshuang
Wright, Donald
Hoff, Steven
Koziel, Jacek
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Food Science and Human NutritionCivil, Construction and Environmental EngineeringAgricultural and Biosystems EngineeringToxicology

Air sampling and characterization of odorous livestock gases is one of the most challenging analytical tasks. This is because of low concentrations, physicochemical properties, and problems with sample recoveries for typical odorants. Livestock operations emit a very complex mixture of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other gases. Many of these gases are odorous. Relatively little is known about the link between characteristic VOCs/gases and, specifically, about the impact of characteristic odorants downwind from sources. In this research, solid-phase microextraction (SPME) is used for field air sampling of odors downwind from swine and beef cattle operations. Sampling time ranges from 20 min to 1 h. Samples are analyzed using a commercial gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-olfactometry system. Odor profiling efforts are directed at odorant prioritization, with respect to distance from the source. The results indicate the odor downwind is increasingly defined by a smaller number of high-priority odorants. These “character defining” odorants appear to be dominated by compounds of relatively low volatility, high molecular weight, and high polarity. In particular, p-cresol alone appears to carry much of the overall odor impact for swine and beef cattle operations. Of particular interest is the character-defining odor impact of p-cresol as far as 16 km downwind of the nearest beef cattle feedlot. The findings are highly relevant to scientists and engineers working on improved air sampling and analysis protocols and on improved technologies for odor abatement. More research evaluating the use of p-cresol and a few other key odorants as a surrogate for overall odor dispersion modeling is warranted.


This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Chromatographic Science following peer review. The version of record Koziel, Jacek A., Lingshuang Cai, Donald W. Wright, and Steven J. Hoff. "Solid-Phase Microextraction as a Novel Air Sampling Technology for Improved, GC—Olfactometry-Based Assessment of Livestock Odors." Journal of Chromatographic Science 44, no. 7 (2006): 451-457 is available online at DOI: 10.1093/chromsci/44.7.451. Posted with permission.