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Sulfur compounds are associated with unpleasant, pungent odours, which are noticeable even at low concentrations. These compounds are difficult to analyse as they are thermally labile (sensitive to high temperatures), particularly when in contact with metals. Moreover, several of the compounds of interest are very volatile, such as hydrogen sulfide and methanethiol.

The detection of sulfur compounds at trace levels is critically important in a number of air monitoring applications, including industrial emissions testing; environmental monitoring of off-odours, e.g. from sewage treatment plants and landfill sites; health and safety monitoring of toxic compounds, e.g. exposure to CS2; flavour and fragrance testing; and food studies, e.g. shelf-life tests and off-odour profiling.

This application note shows how TD–GC was used to detect trace-level sulfur compounds.

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