2.2.2. Collection and recovery (desorption) of volatiles

Volatiles are collected by trapping sample odours on exposed inert polymer matrix (adsorbent packing materials) which vary in their adsorbent properties and method of analysis. The trapped volatiles are then removed by using either heat (thermal desorption) or solvent (solvent desorption) to strip (desorb) the compounds from the packing material. Collected volatiles can be desorbed either directly into the analytical instrument or into a solvent that is later analysed. Each approach has distinct advantages and disadvantages in terms of information generated, ease-of-use, and cost to the researcher and are described below.