Development of a robust chromatographic method for the detection of chlorophenols in cork oak forest soils

Iain McLellan, Andrew Hursthouse, Calum Morrison, Adelia Varela, Cristina Silva Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A major concern for the cork and wine industry is 'cork taint' which is associated with chloroanisoles, the microbial degradation metabolites of chlorophenols. The use of chlorophenolic compounds as pesticides within cork forests was prohibited in 1993 in the European Union (EU) following the introduction of industry guidance. However, cork produced outside the EU is still thought to be affected and simple, robust methods for chlorophenol analysis are required for wider environmental assessment by industry and local environmental regulators. Soil samples were collected from three common-use forests in Tunisia and from one privately owned forest in Sardinia, providing examples of varied management practice and degree of human intervention. These provided challenge samples for the optimisation of a HPLC-UV detection method. It produced recoveries consistently > 75 % against a soil CRM (ERM-CC008) for pentachlorophenol. The optimised method, with ultraviolet (diode array) detection is able to separate and quantify 16 different chlorophenols at field concentrations greater than the limits of detection ranging from 6.5 to 191.3 mu g/kg (dry weight). Application to a range of field samples demonstrated the absence of widespread contamination in forest soils at sites sampled in Sardinia and Tunisia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1293
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • HPLC
  • Method development
  • Quercus suber L
  • Cork oak
  • Chlorophenols
  • Soils
  • NATO Science for Peace


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