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, 963 (1-2), 411-8

Detection of Explosives and Their Degradation Products in Soil Environments


Detection of Explosives and Their Degradation Products in Soil Environments

A Halasz et al. J Chromatogr A.


Polynitro organic explosives [hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX) and 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT)] are typical labile environmental pollutants that can biotransform with soil indigenous microorganisms, photodegrade by sunlight and migrate through subsurface soil to cause groundwater contamination. To be able to determine the type and concentration of explosives and their (bio)transformation products in different soil environments, a comprehensive analytical methodology of sample preparation, separation and detection is thus required. The present paper describes the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2), acetonitrile (MeCN) (US Environmental Protection Agency Method 8330) and solid-phase microextraction (SPME) for the extraction of explosives and their degradation products from various water, soil and plant tissue samples for subsequent analysis by either HPLC-UV, capillary electrophoresis (CE-UV) or GC-MS. Contaminated surface and subsurface soil and groundwater were collected from either a TNT manufacturing facility or an anti-tank firing range. Plant tissue samples were taken fromplants grown in anti-tank firing range soil in a greenhouse experiment. All tested soil and groundwater samples from the former TNT manufacturing plant were found to contain TNT and some of its amino reduced and partially denitrated products. Their concentrations as determined by SPME-GC-MS and LC-UV depended on the location of sampling at the site. In the case of plant tissues, SC-CO2 extraction followed by CE-UV analysis showed only the presence of HMX. The concentrations of HMX (<200 mg/kg) as determined by supercritical fluid extraction (SC-CO2)-CE-UV were comparable to those obtained by MeCN extraction, although the latter technique was found to be more efficient at higher concentrations (>300 mg/kg). Modifiers such as MeCN and water enhanced the SC-CO2 extractability of HMX from plant tissues.

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