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• Microbial volatile organic compounds are the indicators of active growth of fungi.
• Optimized headspace SPME technique is a useful tool for the investigations of MVOCs.
• The sampling time between 12 and 24 h is optimal for extracting of MVOCs.
• DVB/CAR/PDMS fiber is the most effective one for sorption of MVOCs released by molds.
• Detection of moulds by the MVOCs measurements is much faster than in microbial tests.
The main goal of this work was to optimize the SPME sampling method for measuring microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) emitted by active molds that may deteriorate historical objects. A series of artificially aged model materials that resemble those found in historical objects was prepared and evaluated after exposure to four different types of fungi. The investigated pairs consisted of: Alternaria alternata on silk, Aspergillus niger on parchment, Chaetomium globosum on paper and wool, and Cladosporium herbarum on paper. First of all, a selection of the most efficient SPME fibers was carried out as there are six different types of fibers commercially available. It was important to find a fiber that absorbs the biggest number and the highest amount of MVOCs. The results allowed establishing and selecting the DVB/CAR/PDMS fiber as the most effective SPME fiber for this kind of an analysis. Another task was to optimize the time of MVOCs extraction on the fiber. It was recognized that a time between 12 and 24 h is adequate for absorbing a high enough amount of MVOCs. In the last step the temperature of MVOCs desorption in the GC injection port was optimized. It was found that desorption at a temperature of 250 °C allowed obtaining chromatograms with the highest abundances of compounds. To the best of our knowledge this work constitutes the first attempt of the SPME method optimization for sampling MVOCs emitted by molds growing on historical objects.
Journal: Journal of Chromatography A - Volume 1409, 28 August 2015, Pages 30–45