A preliminary comparison of GC, HPLC and ELISA analysis of resin acids in pulp mill effluents

IRG/WP 97-20120

A N Serreqi, K Stark, Xiumei Feng, J N Saddler, C Breuil

Resin acids are naturally occurring diterpenoid carboxylic acids present in most Canadian softwoods. There are eight common resin acids that are classified into two groups; the abietanes and the pimaranes. During processing of wood products they can be released into the environment where they are of concern because of their acute toxicity toward fish and other aquatic life. Traditionally resin acids are analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) which requires extraction of analytes from a sample matrix, derivatization to increase analyte volatility and separation by solid phase extraction. This process is difficult, tedious and expensive but provides quantification of the individual resin acids with low detection limits. Recently a fast and simple high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method was developed to analyze dehydroabietic acid (DHA) directly from pulp mill effluents. Our laboratory has developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on polyclonal antibodies that was successfully used to directly quantify the abietanes in CTMP effluent.. We compared the three techniques by analysing effluent samples from the Quesnel River Pulp Mill at various stages of the pulping process. Preliminary results showed good agreement for DHA analysis between the HPLC and GC methods. Since it analyzed for all the abietanes, ELISA measured a greater proportion of the resin acids in the samples than the HPLC. The merits and disadvantages of each method will be further discussed.


Conference: 97-05-25/30 Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

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