Suitability of Short- and Long-Term Storage of Volatile Organic Compounds Samples in Syringe-Based Containers: A Comparison Study

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The employment of advanced analytical techniques and instrumentation enables the tracing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in vestigial concentrations (ppbv-pptv range) for several emerging applications, such as the research of disease biomarkers in exhaled air, the detection of metabolites in several biological processes, and the detection of pollutants for air quality control. In this scope, the storage of gaseous samples is crucial for preserving the integrity and stability of the collected set of analytes. This study aims to assess the suitability of three commercially available syringes as air containers (AC) that are commonly used for the collection, storage, isolation, and transportation of samples: glass syringes with glass plungers (AC1), and two plastic syringes, one with plastic plungers (AC2), and one with rubbered plungers (AC3). For this purpose, 99 air samples with different times of storage (from 10 min to 24 h) were analyzed using a Gas Chromatography—Ion Mobility Spectrometry device and the degradation of the samples was properly assessed by comparing the changes in the VOCs’ emission profiles. The quality of the method was assured by via the measurement of the blank’s spectra before each experimental run, as well as by the consecutive measurement of the three replicates for each sample. A statistical analysis of the changes in the VOCs’ emission patterns was performed using principal component analysis (PCA). The results, with a total explained variance of 93.61%, indicate that AC3 is the most suitable option for the long-term storage of air samples. Thus, AC3 containers demonstrated a higher capacity to preserve the stability and integrity of the analytes compared to AC1 and AC2. The findings of the short-term effects analysis, up to 1 h, confirm the suitability of all analyzed syringe-based containers for sample-transferring purposes in onsite analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number903
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2023


  • air storage containers
  • breath sampling
  • gas chromatography
  • ion mobility spectrometry
  • syringe
  • volatile organic compounds


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