Abstract. A sensitive, selective and robust method was developed to quantify low levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soils by means of Programmed Temperature Vaporization- Large Volume Injection (PTV-LVI) coupled to gas chromatography with flame ionization detection. Optimal vent pressure and flux at the PTV inlet of the GC system were determined by comparison of peak areas obtained from injection of a standard PAHs mixture at different conditions. Assessment of method performance was carried out with home-made standards prepared by spiking three non-PAH contaminated soils that contained 1.8%, 4.6 % and 25 % natural organic matter (NOM), with mixtures of six different PAHs at low concentration levels. Detection limits between 9 and 12 ng g-1 and variation coefficients below 11% were determined from analysis of spiked samples of the soil with lowest NOM content. PAHs recoveries typically ranged from 61 % to 96 % for the three studied soils
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