Odour compounds in extracts of bleached kraft pulp mill effluent (BKME) have been characterized by olfactory gas chromatography (OGC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A variety of sulfury odours was detected by OGC in addition to woody and pulp mill-like odours. Three sulfur compounds were identified by comparison of retention times and partial mass spectra with authentic standards: dimethyl disulfide, 3-methylthiophene and thioanisole (methyl phenyl sulfide). Typical concentrations in BKME were 1, 0.05, and 0.5 μg/l, respectively. Their odour intensity is relatively low and they were not detected by OGC. Dimethyl trisulfide was tentatively identified by comparison of its partial mass spectrum with a literature (library) spectrum. Its concentration in BKME was estimated at 0.5-2 μg/l. It corresponded to a skunky odour in the OGC profiles. Efforts to identify another odour peak, eluting just after 3-methylthiophene, with a pronounced alkyl sulfide odour were unsuccessful.

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