Hybrid Targeted/Untargeted Screening Method for the Determination of Wildfire and Water-Soluble Organic Tracers in Ice Cores and Snow.

Burgay, François; Salionov, Daniil; Huber, Carla Jennifer; Singer, Thomas; Eichler, Anja; Ungeheuer, Florian; Vogel, Alexander; Schwikowski, Margit; Bjelić, Saša (2023). Hybrid Targeted/Untargeted Screening Method for the Determination of Wildfire and Water-Soluble Organic Tracers in Ice Cores and Snow. Analytical chemistry, 95(30), pp. 11456-11466. American Chemical Society 10.1021/acs.analchem.3c01852

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Wildfires can influence the earth's radiative forcing through the emission of biomass-burning aerosols. To better constrain the impacts of wildfires on climate and understand their evolution under future climate scenarios, reconstructing their chemical nature, assessing their past variability, and evaluating their influence on the atmospheric composition are essential. Ice cores are unique to perform such reconstructions representing archives not only of past biomass-burning events but also of concurrent climate and environmental changes. Here, we present a novel methodology for the quantification of five biomass-burning proxies (syringic acid, vanillic acid, vanillin, syringaldehyde, and p-hydroxybenzoic acid) and one biogenic emission proxy (pinic acid) using solid phase extraction (SPE) and ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography coupled with high-resolution mass spectrometry. This method was also optimized for untargeted screening analysis to gain a broader knowledge about the chemical composition of organic aerosols in ice and snow samples. The method provides low detection limits (0.003-0.012 ng g-1), high recoveries (74 ± 10%), and excellent reproducibility, allowing the quantification of the six proxies and the identification of 313 different molecules, mainly constituted by carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The effectiveness of two different sample storage strategies, i.e., re-freezing of previously molten ice samples and freezing of previously loaded SPE cartridges, was also assessed, showing that the latter approach provides more reproducible results.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Schwikowski, Margit


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




American Chemical Society




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Date Deposited:

19 Jul 2023 10:12

Last Modified:

01 Aug 2023 00:17

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