Time-Weighted Average SPME Analysis for in Planta Determination of cVOCs

Emily M. Sheehan, Matt A. Limmer, Philipp Mayer, Ulrich Gosewinkel Karlson, Joel G. Burken

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The potential of phytoscreening for plume delineation at contaminated sites has promoted interest in innovative, sensitive contaminant sampling techniques. Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) methods have been developed, offering quick, undemanding, noninvasive sampling without the use of solvents. In this study, time-weighted average SPME (TWA-SPME) sampling was evaluated for in planta quantification of chlorinated solvents. TWA-SPME was found to have increased sensitivity over headspace and equilibrium SPME sampling. Using a variety of chlorinated solvents and a polydimethylsiloxane/carboxen (PDMS/CAR) SPME fiber, most compounds exhibited near linear or linear uptake over the sampling period. Smaller, less hydrophobic compounds exhibited more nonlinearity than larger, more hydrophobic molecules. Using a specifically designed in planta sampler, field sampling was conducted at a site contaminated with chlorinated solvents. Sampling with TWA-SPME produced instrument responses ranging from 5 to over 200 times higher than headspace tree core sampling. This work demonstrates that TWA-SPME can be used for in planta detection of a broad range of chlorinated solvents and methods can likely be applied to other volatile and semivolatile organic compounds.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)3319-3325
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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