Non-Destructive Detection of Pentachlorophenol Residues in Historical Wooden Objects

Polymers (Basel). 2021 Mar 27;13(7):1052. doi: 10.3390/polym13071052.


Wood is a natural polymeric material that is an important constituent of many heritage collections. Because of its susceptibility to biodegradation, it is often chemically treated with substances that can be harmful to human health. One of the most widely used wood preservatives was pentachlorophenol (PCP), which is still present in museum objects today, although its use has been restricted for about forty years. The development of non-destructive methods for its determination, suitable for the analysis of valuable objects, is therefore of great importance. In this work, two non-destructive solid-phase microextraction (SPME) methods were developed and optimized, using either headspace or contact mode. They were compared with a destructive solvent extraction method and found to be suitable for quantification in the range of 7.5 to 75 mg PCP/kg wood at room temperature. The developed semi-quantitative methods were applied in the wooden furniture depot of National Museum of Slovenia. PCP was detected inside two furniture objects using headspace mode. The pesticide lindane was also detected in one object. The indoor air of the depot with furniture was also sampled with HS SPME, and traces of PCP were found. According to the results, SPME methods are suitable for the detection of PCP residues in museum objects and in the environment.

Keywords: GC–MS; contact SPME; headspace; museum collections; non-destructive method; pentachlorophenol; solid-phase microextraction; wood.