Application of PTR-MS for measuring odorant emissions from soil application of manure slurry

Sensors (Basel). 2015 Jan 9;15(1):1148-67. doi: 10.3390/s150101148.


Odorous volatile organic compounds (VOC) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are emitted together with ammonia (NH3) from manure slurry applied as a fertilizer, but little is known about the composition and temporal variation of the emissions. In this work, a laboratory method based on dynamic flux chambers packed with soil has been used to measure emissions from untreated pig slurry and slurry treated by solid-liquid separation and ozonation. Proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) was used to provide time resolved data for a range of VOC, NH3 and H2S. VOC included organic sulfur compounds, carboxylic acids, phenols, indoles, alcohols, ketones and aldehydes. H2S emission was remarkably observed to take place only in the initial minutes after slurry application, which is explained by its high partitioning into the air phase. Long-term odor effects are therefore assessed to be mainly due to other volatile compounds with low odor threshold values, such as 4-methylphenol. PTR-MS signal assignment was verified by comparison to a photo-acoustic analyzer (NH3) and to thermal desorption GC/MS (VOC). Due to initial rapid changes in odorant emissions and low concentrations of odorants, PTR-MS is assessed to be a very useful method for assessing odor following field application of slurry. The effects of treatments on odorant emissions are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / chemistry
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Ammonia / analysis
  • Animals
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Limit of Detection
  • Manure / analysis*
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Methanol / chemistry
  • Methylamines / analysis
  • Odorants / analysis*
  • Ozone / chemistry
  • Photoacoustic Techniques
  • Protons*
  • Soil / chemistry*
  • Sus scrofa


  • Air Pollutants
  • Manure
  • Methylamines
  • Protons
  • Soil
  • Ozone
  • Ammonia
  • trimethylamine
  • Acetic Acid
  • Methanol