Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Publications

Campus Units

Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Toxicology

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of Chromatography A





First Page


Last Page


Research Focus Area(s)

Biological and Process Engineering and Technology




Aerial emissions of odorous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are an important nuisance factor from livestock production systems. Reliable air sampling and analysis methods are needed to develop and test odor mitigation technologies. Quantification of VOCs responsible for livestock odor remains an analytical challenge due to physicochemical properties of VOCs and the requirement for low detection thresholds. A new air sampling and analysis method was developed for testing of odor/VOCs mitigation in simulated livestock emissions system. A flow-through standard gas generating system simulating odorous VOCs in livestock barn emissions was built on laboratory scale and tested to continuously generate ten odorous VOCs commonly defining livestock odor. Standard VOCs included sulfur VOCs (S-VOCs), volatile fatty acids (VFAs), and p-cresol. Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) was optimized for sampling of diluted odorous gas mixtures in the moving air followed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. CAR/PDMS 85 μm fiber was shown to have the best sensitivity for the target odorous VOCs. A practical 5-min sampling time was selected to ensure optimal extraction of VFAs and p-cresol, as well as minimum displacement of S-VOCs. Method detection limits ranged from 0.39 to 2.64 ppbv for S-VOCs, 0.23 to 0.77 ppbv for VFAs, and 0.31 ppbv for p-cresol. The method developed was applied to quantify VOCs and odorous VOC mitigation with UV light treatment. The measured concentrations ranged from 20.1 to 815 ppbv for S-VOCs, 10.3 to 315 ppbv for VFAs, and 4.73 to 417 ppbv for p-cresol. Relative standard deviations between replicates ranged from 0.67% to 12.9%, 0.50% to 11.4%, 0.83% to 5.14% for S-VOCs, VFAs, and p-cresol, respectively. This research shows that a simple manual SPME sampler could be used successfully for quantification of important classes of odorous VOCs at concentrations relevant for real aerial emissions from livestock operations.


This article is published as Yang, Xiuyan, Wenda Zhu, Jacek A. Koziel, Lingshuang Cai, William S. Jenks, Yael Laor, J. Hans van Leeuwen, and Steven J. Hoff. "Improved quantification of livestock associated odorous volatile organic compounds in a standard flow-through system using solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry." Journal of Chromatography A 1414 (2015): 31-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2015.08.034. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier B.V.



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Published Version