Characterisation of volatile organic compounds in stemwood using solid-phase microextraction

Anitra Wajs*, A. Pranovich, M. Reunanen, S. Willför, B. Holmbom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Solid-phase microextraction (SPME), hydrodistillation and dynamic headspace combined with GC and GC-MS were applied and compared for the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from coniferous wood. The SPME conditions (type of fibre, size of wood sample, temperature and exposure time) were optimised, and more than 100 VOCs and semi-volatile compounds extracted and identified from the sapwood and heartwood of Norway spruce (Picea abies). The total number of mono- and sesquiterpenes eluted and identified was similar for the SPME and hydrodistillation methods, but more semi-volatile compounds were released by hydrodistillation. By applying dynamic headspace at room temperature, it was possible to analyse only the most volatile compounds. The qualitative composition of VOCs was similar in spruce sapwood and heartwood, although Z-β-ocimene occurred only in sapwood while fenchol was present only in heartwood. SPME sampling coupled with GC, applied here to the analysis of VOCs released from stemwood of firs for the first time, is a convenient, sensitive, fast, solvent-free and simple method for the determination of wood volatiles. The technique requires much smaller sample amounts compared with hydrodistillation, and the total amount of VOCs extracted and identified is higher than that obtained by hydrodistillation or dynamic headspace. The relative ratios of the main mono- and sesquiterpenes and -terpenoids were similar using the SPME-GC and hydrodistillation methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-101
Number of pages11
JournalPhytochemical Analysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Dynamic headspace
  • Hydrodistillation
  • Picea abies
  • SPME
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Wood


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