Standard Article

Phenols Analysis in Environmental Samples

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Monika Moeder

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0854

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Moeder, M. 2006. Phenols Analysis in Environmental Samples. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig/Halle, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


Phenolic compounds are widely distributed in our ecosystems. In addition to naturally occurring phenols, the majority of toxic phenolic substances are released into the environment by industry and agriculture. As the manufacture and use of phenols requires qualitative and quantitative control, a wide variety of methods have been developed to determine phenolic compounds. In addition to coarse screening to rapidly obtain a general overview, many highly specialized techniques exist that are geared to individual analysis problems. The range of available methods extends from steam distillation and classic liquid–liquid extraction (LLE) as sample preparation combined with photometric or ultraviolet (UV) detection, to more sophisticated techniques such as liquid–solid extraction (LSE) including solid-phase extraction (SPE) and solid-phase microextraction (SPME) coupled to gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS). This article describes the most suitable methods, taking account of special factors such as substance class, chemical properties, concentration range and accompanying matrices. Some new trends in phenol determination are also discussed in comparison with the established methods. The basic factors governing the selection of suitable analysis methods are also covered.