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Weggler B.A.,Helmholtz Center Munich | Weggler B.A.,University of Rostock | Weggler B.A.,Helmholtz Virtual Institute of Complex Molecular Systems in Environmental Health Aerosol and Health HICE | Groger T.,Helmholtz Center Munich | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Chromatography A | Year: 2014

Multidimensional gas chromatography is an appropriate tool for the non-targeted and comprehensive characterisation of complex samples generated from combustion processes. Particulate matter (PM) emission is composed of a large number of compounds, including condensed semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs). However, the complex amount of information gained from such comprehensive techniques is associated with difficult and time-consuming data analysis. Because of this obstacle, two-dimensional gas chromatography still receives relatively little use in aerosol science [1-4]. To remedy this problem, advanced scripting algorithms based on knowledge-based rules (KBRs) were developed in-house and applied to GCxGC-TOFMS data. Previously reported KBRs and newer findings were considered for the development of these algorithms. The novelty of the presented advanced scripting tools is a notably selective search criterion for data screening, which is primarily based on fragmentation patterns and the presence of specific fragments. Combined with "classical" approaches based on retention times, a fast, accurate and automated data evaluation method was developed, which was evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively for type 1 and type 2 errors. The method's applicability was further tested for PM filter samples obtained from ship fuel combustion. Major substance classes, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), alkanes, benzenes, esters and ethers, can be targeted. This approach allows the classification of approximately 75% of the peaks of interest within real PM samples. Various conditions of combustion, such as fuel composition and engine load, could be clearly characterised and differentiated. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

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