Environmental Analysis of Nitroaromatics
Nitroaromatic compounds (NACs) are important anthropogenic chemicals, which may enter all areas of the environment in significant amounts. Once there, they may be transformed, mainly via redox reactions. Most NACs and their transformation products are rather toxic, both in humans and ecosystems, and they are especially known for their carcinogenic potential. Thus, input and detrimental effects of NACs make environmental surveillance necessary, which in turn requires selective, sensitive, unbiased and robust methods suitable for the analysis of complex mixtures. These requirements are mainly ful- filled by the combination of an enrichment step with chromatographic separation and use of an appropriate detector. Official methods today use liquid–liquid extraction (LLE) or solid-phase extraction (SPE), followed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with ultraviolet (UV) detection, or gas chromatography (GC) with electron capture detection (ECD). These methods are widely established and have been thoroughly tested in interlaboratory comparisons. However, new methods for extraction, separation and detection are emerging, which are superior in terms of the required characteristics, and thus may replace the existing methods in the future. Both standard methods and new developments for the environmental analysis of NACs are discussed in this article. Regarding the references given, priority was given to the most recent developments, and thus about 70% of the cited literature is less than five years old.
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