An on line concentration and fluorescence determination HPLC for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in seawater was proposed. An online concentration column packed with octadecyl polyvinyl alcohol polymer, a pump and a column switching valve were introduced in the conventional HPLC with a fluorescence detector. Only 1.0-100 mL seawater sample was introduced into the concentration column at 1.0 mL min(-1) without any other pretreatment except filtration. Then the trapped PAHs totally flew into the separation column and eluted separately to be detected fluorogenically. The proposed method had good linearity with correlation coefficients (r) ranged from 0.951 to 0.998, and limits of detection ranged from 0.002 to 0.50 ng L(-1) for 15 PAHs as 100 mL seawater was loaded. The sensitivity of the method was 10 to 100 times higher than those reported by other works. The proposed method was applied to the determination of PAHs in the seawater samples collected in the Japan Sea with satisfactory results and to check the present benzo[a]pyrene concentration at the beaches in Noto peninsula, Japan polluted with C-heavy oil spilled from the tanker in 1997.
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