Terpenes are highly aromatic natural compounds found in many living plants, fruits, and herbs that provide the characteristic scent or fragrance often recognized by the sense of smell. In nature, terpenes function to protect plants from insects, animal grazing, and plant diseases. As these plants are dried and cured, the terpenes oxidize and become terpenoids. Many consumer products are derived from the vibrant aromas of terpenes such as from the cannabis sativa plant for medicinal and recreational use; and also, from plants such as hemp, hops, juniper berries, and for essential oils used in aromatherapy and characteristic flavorings in food and beverages. Terpene and terpenoid compounds are highly studied in research to evaluate their potential medicinal and therapeutic benefits in both animals and humans.
In order to analytically profile the levels of terpenes in these plants, a flowering portion of the plant must be removed and then dried for qualitative analysis at a cost to the grower in reduced plant yield. The Carbotrap® T420 Thermal Desorption (TD) tube can provide the grower with a non-destructive profiling tool of their growing and flowering plants and plant materials with a simple grab sample of air.
People who work in the agriculture side of the growing and cultivation of cannabis and hemp in indoor greenhouse environments are exposed to high levels of terpenes and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during their work shift and may experience unpleasant respiratory health effects. However, there are currently no federal or state government-mandated workplace exposure limits associated with terpenes emissions in these environments and no reliable air sampling method optimized for measuring these terpenes. The Carbotrap® T420 TD tube was designed to solve the problem of sampling terpenes in the air in high humidity environments for industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, and ambient air emissions.
Communities that neighbor the cannabis and hemp agricultural growing operations often complain of the persistent unpleasant odors, but there are few government mandates related to odor emissions and mitigation strategies. The Carbotrap® T420 TD tube can provide regulators with a tool to actively measure the fenceline around these growing operations and neighborhoods to study and monitor environmental emissions, access terpene drift, and associated odors to develop their mitigation strategies, and set future terpene odor limit thresholds.
Carbotrap® T420 Thermal Desorption tubes
To quantitate the terpene concentration from air depending on your application, it is important to know the total volume of air pulled through the tube with an air sampling pump during the sampling event. The sample volume is calculated by multiplying the flow rate (L/min) by the sampling time (minutes). The recommended sample collection volume is between 0.10 to 10 liters to prevent breakthrough and/ or overloading the analytical system. The optimal sample volume is dependent on the terpene concentration levels that are present during sampling and the analytical instrument parameters of the thermal desorption and gas chromatograph parameters (TD-GC/MS). Table 1 provides the recommended sample volumes based on various sampling conditions. Additional experimentation may need to be performed for your specific conditions.
Note: Terpene odor thresholds will be different among users so keep this in mind when choosing a sample volume for your application.
Outdoor measurement of terpenes from hemp growing operations using our glass and stainless steel Carbotrap® T420 TD tubes and Spectrex PAS-500 Personal Air Sampling pumps
Indoor profile measurement of cannabis terpenes (flowering plant) from cannabis greenhouse growing operations using our glass Carbotrap® T420 TD tubes and detector tube pump
Indoor profile measurement of cannabis terpenes using headspace on dried plant materials from cannabis greenhouse growing operations using our stainless Carbotrap® T420 TD tubes and large syringe to pull the sample into our Carbotrap® T420 TD tube.
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