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Hwanmi Lim

Affiliated Researcher

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Works at Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry
Telephone 08-16 24 39
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 16 C
Room A 333
Postal address Institutionen för material- och miljökemi 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Affiliated researcher at MMK

Research Scientist at Lipidor AB


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2013. Trifa M. Ahmed (et al.). Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 405 (25), 8215-8222

    A multidimensional, on-line coupled liquid chromatographic/gas chromatographic system was developed for the quantification of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A two-dimensional liquid chromatographic system (2D-liquid chromatography (LC)), with three columns having different selectivities, was connected on-line to a two-dimensional gas chromatographic system (2D-gas chromatography (GC)). Samples were cleaned up by combining normal elution and column back-flush of the LC columns to selectively remove matrix constituents and isolate well-defined, PAH enriched fractions. Using this system, the sequential removal of polar, mono/diaromatic, olefinic and alkane compounds from crude extracts was achieved. The LC/GC coupling was performed using a fused silica transfer line into a programmable temperature vaporizer (PTV) GC injector. Using the PTV in the solvent vent mode, excess solvent was removed and the enriched PAH sample extract was injected into the GC. The 2D-GC setup consisted of two capillary columns with different stationary phase selectivities. Heart-cutting of selected PAH compounds in the first GC column (first dimension) and transfer of these to the second GC column (second dimension) increased the baseline resolutions of closely eluting PAHs. The on-line system was validated using the standard reference materials SRM 1649a (urban dust) and SRM 1975 (diesel particulate extract). The PAH concentrations measured were comparable to the certified values and the fully automated LC/GC system performed the clean-up, separation and detection of PAHs in 16 extracts in less than 24 h. The multidimensional, on-line 2D-LC/2D-GC system eliminated manual handling of the sample extracts and minimised the risk of sample loss and contamination, while increasing accuracy and precision.

  • 2014. Gisela A. Umbuzeiro (et al.). Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 55 (6), 510-517

    The Salmonella/microsome assay is the most used assay for the evaluation of air particulate matter (PM) mutagenicity and a positive correlation between strain TA98 responses and benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) levels in PM has been found. However, it seems that the major causes of PM mutagenicity in this assay are the nitro and oxy-PAHs. Salmonella YG5161, a 30-times more responsive strain to B[a]P has been developed. To verify if YG5161 strain was sufficiently sensitive to detect mutagenicity associated with B[a]P mutagenicity, PM samples were collected in Brazil and Sweden, extracted with toluene and tested in the Salmonella/microsome microsuspension assay. PAHs and B[a]P were determined and the extracts were tested with YG5161 and its parental strain TA1538. The extracts were also tested with YG1041 and its parental strain TA98. For sensitivity comparisons, we tested B[a]P and 1-nitropyrene (1-NP) using the same conditions. The minimal effective dose of B[a]P was 155 ng/plate for TA1538 and 7 ng/plate for YG5161. Although the maximum tested dose, 10 m3/plate containing 9 ng of B[a]P in the case of Brazilian sample, was sufficient to elicit a response in YG5161, mutagenicity was detected at a dose as low as 1 m3/plate (0.9 ng). This is probably caused by nitro-compounds that have been shown to be even more potent than B[a]P for YG5161. It seems that the mutagenicity of B[a]P present in PM is not detectable even with the use of YG5161 unless more efficient separation to remove the nitro-compounds from the PAH extract is performed.

  • 2014. Hwanmi Lim (et al.). Journal of Chromatography A 1355, 100-106

    Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is a known human carcinogen and is commonly used as a surrogate for assessing the carcinogenic risk posed by complex mixtures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) present in air particulate matter (PM). However, studies have shown that using B[a]P as a surrogate may underestimate the carcinogenic potential of PAH mixtures, as the risk assessment approach does not consider interaction effects. Thus, toxicological studies using B[a]P to assess its carcinogenic potential in environmentally derived complex mixtures, as opposed to single compound experiments, could improve risk assessment. The intention of the present study was to develop an online HPLC fractionation system for the selective removal of B[a]P from air PM extracts. Two serial pyrenylethyl (PYE) columns enabled selective separation of B[a]P from its isomers and other PAHs as well as a short fractionation cycle of 30 minutes. One run consisted of three collection steps: the first fraction contained PAHs eluting earlier than B[a]P, the second contained B[a]P and the last contained later-eluting PAHs. The selectivity and recovery of the system was investigated using extracts of Stockholm air PM samples. The overall recovery for all PAHs was approximately 80%, and the system proved to be selective, as it removed 94% of B[a]P and less than 3% of benzo[b]fluoranthene from the complex PAH mixture. Exposing human cells to blanks generated by the fractionation system did not induce cytotoxicity or DNA damage signalling. In conclusion, the online HPLC system was selective for B[a]P fractionation whilst minimising run-to-run variation and allowing repeated fractionations for larger samples due to its relatively short run time

  • 2015. Hwanmi Lim (et al.). Environmental Science and Technology 49 (5), 3101-3109

    Benz[j]aceanthrylene (B[j]A) is a cyclopenta-fused polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon with strong mutagenic and carcinogenic effects. We have identified B[j]A in air particulate matter (PM) in samples collected in Stockholm, Sweden and in Limeira, Brazil using LC-GC/MS analysis. Determined concentrations ranged between 1.57 and 12.7 and 19.6-30.2 pg/m(3) in Stockholm and Limeira, respectively, which was 11-30 times less than benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) concentrations. Activation of the DNA damage response was evaluated after exposure to B[j]A in HepG2 cells in comparison to B[a]P. We found that significantly lower concentrations of B[j]A were needed for an effect on cell viability compared to B[a]P, and equimolar exposure resulted in significant more DNA damage with B[j]A. Additionally, levels of gamma H2AX, pChk1, p53, pp53, and p21 proteins were higher in response to B[j]A than B[a]P. On the basis of dose response induction of pChk1 and gamma H2AX, B[j]A potency was 12.5- and 33.3-fold higher than B[a]P, respectively. Although B[j]A levels in air were low, including B[j]A in the estimation of excess lifetime cancer risk increased the risk up to 2-fold depending on which potency factor for B[j]A was applied. Together, our results show that B[j]A could be an important contributor to the cancer risk of air PM.

  • 2016. Silvia Masala (et al.). Atmospheric Environment 140, 370-380

    The concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been determined in the gaseous phase and in various particulate matter (PM) size fractions at different locations in and outside of Stockholm, Sweden, representative of street level, urban and rural background. The focus has been on the seldom determined but highly carcinogenic dibenzopyrene isomers (DBPs) dibenzo[a,I]pyrene, dibenzo [a,e]pyrene, dibenzo[a,i]pyrene and dibenzo[a,h]pyrene. PAHs with 3 rings were found to be mainly associated with the vapor phase (>90%) whereas PAHs with 5-6 rings were mostly associated with particulate matter (>92%) and the 4-ringed PAHs partitioned between the two phases. PAH abundance was determined to be in the order street level > urban background > rural background with the PM10 street level 2010 mean of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) reaching 0.24 ng/m(3), well below the EU annual limit value of 1 ng/m(3). In addition, higher PAH concentrations were found in the sub-micron particle fraction (PM1) as compared to the super -micron fraction (PM1-10) with the abundance in PM1 varying between 57 and 86% of the total PAHs. The B[a]P equivalent concentrations derived for DB[a,l]P and total DBPs exceeded 1-2 and 2-4 times, respectively, that of B[a]P at the four sampling sites; therefore underestimation of the cancer risk posed by PAHs in air could be made if the DBPs were not considered in risk assessment using the toxic equivalency approach, whilst the high correlation (p < 0.001) found in the relative concentrations supports the use of B[a]P as a marker substance for assessment of the carcinogenic risk associated to PAHs. However, the big difference in concentration ratios of B[a]P and the DBPs between the present study and some literature data calls for further research to evaluate the temporal and spatial invariance of the B[a]P/DBP ratios.

  • 2017. Kristian Dreij (et al.). Environmental Science and Technology 51 (15), 8805-8814

    Complex mixtures of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are common environmental pollutants associated with adverse human health effects including cancer. However, the risk of exposure to mixtures is difficult to estimate, and risk assessment by whole mixture potency evaluations has been suggested. To facilitate this, reliable in vitro based testing systems are necessary. Here, we investigated if activation of DNA damage signaling in vitro could be an endpoint for developing whole mixture potency factors (MPFs) for airborne PAHs. Activation of DNA damage signaling was assessed by phosphorylation of Chid and H2AX using Western blotting. To validate the in vitro approach, potency factors were determined for seven individual PAHs which were in very good agreement with established potency factors based on cancer data in vivo. Applying the method using Stockholm air PAH samples indicated MPFs with orders of magnitude higher carcinogenic potency than predicted by established in vivo-based potency factors. Applying the MPFs in cancer risk assessment suggested that 45.4 (6% of all) cancer cases per year in Stockholm are due to airborne PAHs. Applying established models resulted in <1 cancer case per year, which is far from expected levels. We conclude that our in vitro based approach for establishing MPFs could be a novel method to assess whole mixture samples of airborne PAHs to improve health risk assessment.

  • 2017. Hwanmi Lim (et al.). Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 409 (24), 5619-5629

    An online two-dimensional (2D) liquid chromatography/2D gas chromatography system with two mass-selective detectors has been developed on the basis of a previous system with two flame ionization detectors. The method translation involved the change of carrier gas from hydrogen to helium, column dimension and detectors. The 2D system with two mass-selective detectors was validated with use of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) standards and two standard reference materials from air and diesel exhaust. Furthermore, the system was applied to a real sample, wood smoke particulates. The PAH values determined correlated well with the previous data and those from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The system enhanced the benefits of the previous system, which were limited by the low detectability and lack of mass selectivity. This study shows an automated 2D system that is valid for PAH analysis of complex environmental samples directly from crude extracts.

  • 2018. Hwanmi Lim (et al.).

    One group of organic environmental pollutants which are potentially hazardous to human health is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These compounds consist of two or more benzene rings in their structure among which benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) is classified as a human carcinogen. In order to generate accurate data for PAHs, reliable analytical methods are a prerequisite for PAH monitoring in the environment and cancer risk assessments. However, there are several analytical challenges in PAH analysis because they are a large number of compounds with different physical and chemical properties and occur at varying concentration levels, often in complex matrices. Thus, this thesis aimed at tackling these difficulties in PAH analysis using various analytical techniques such as automation, hyphenation and multidimensional chromatography, particularly to increase the detectability and separation efficiency of PAHs in complex matrices. Furthermore, analytical methods were also presented as a tool for toxicological studies.

    A fully automated two-dimensional (2D)-liquid chromatography (LC)/2D-gas chromatography system was developed to enable the online sample clean-up, separation and detection, initially with two flame ionization detectors (FIDs) (Paper I). The introduction of mass selective detectors (MSDs) instead of two FIDs further advanced the original 2D system, improving the detectability and selectivity in PAH analysis (Paper II). The PAH levels were determined in two standard reference materials (SRMs) from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), i.e. urban dust (SRM 1649a) and diesel particulate extract (SRM 1975). The measured PAH levels were in good agreement with those obtained from FID- and MSD-based systems and reported by NIST (Paper I and II). Additionally, the PAH determination was done in particulates from wood burning, which also showed comparable results between FID and MSD systems (Paper II). The FID-based system showed slightly better separation efficiency owing to the use of hydrogen as carrier gas instead of helium and similar detectability to that of MSD (Paper I). However, the MSD-based system was advantageous to detecting late-eluting PAHs and separating interfering peaks in complex matrices (Paper II).

    Paper III presented an online LC system for B[a]P-selective fractionation as a tool for studying biological interactions. Fractions could be obtained from Stockholm air particulate matter (PM) extract with or without B[a]P. The selective fractionation was achieved using serial LC columns of two pyrenyl phases, resulting in more than 90% of B[a]P in the B[a]P-containing fraction. An analytical method for identification and quantification of benz[j]aceanthrylene (B[j]A) in air PM was developed and described in paper IV. B[j]A is rarely measured due to its low abundance but is known to have high carcinogenic potential. The determination of B[j]A in air PM from Stockholm (Sweden) and Limeira (Brazil), was done together with a series of toxicological studies. The measurement and toxicological data showed an increased number of estimated cancer cases from air PM exposure when levels of B[j]A were taken into account.

    In conclusion, this thesis presents various analytical approaches to obtain more accurate PAH data as well as the possibilities of using them in toxicological research.

  • 2019. Bianca S. Maselli (et al.). Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 60 (7), 607-616

    Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) organic fractions from urban centers are frequently mutagenic for the Salmonella/microsome assay. This mutagenicity is related to both primary and secondary pollutants, and meteorological conditions have great influence on the secondary pollutant's formation. Our objective was to compare the mutagenicity of atmospheric total suspended particulates (TSP) from three cities with marked different meteorological conditions and TSP concentrations: Limeira (Brazil) with 99.0 mu g/m(3), Stockholm (Sweden) with 6.2 mu g/m(3), and Kyoto (Japan) with 28.0 mu g/m(3). For comparison, we used the same batch of filters, sample extraction method, and Salmonella/microsome testing protocol with 11 strains of Salmonella with and without metabolic activation. Samples were collected during winter and pooled into one single extract representing each city. All samples were mutagenic for all tested strains, except for TA102. Based on the strain's selectivity, nitroarenes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and aromatic amines play a predominant role in the mutagenicity of these samples. The mutagenic potencies expressed by mass of extracted organic material (EOM; revertants/mu g EOM) were similar (similar to twofold difference) among the cities, despite differences in meteorological conditions and pollution sources. In contrast, the mutagenic potencies expressed by air volume (rev/m(3)) varied similar to 20-fold, with Limeira > Kyoto approximate to Stockholm. These results are the first systematic assessment of air mutagenicity from cities on three continents using the same protocols. The results confirm that the mutagenic potency expressed by EOM mass is similar regardless of continent of origin, whereas the mutagenic potency expressed by air volume can vary by orders of magnitude. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 2019.

Show all publications by Hwanmi Lim at Stockholm University

Last updated: February 14, 2020

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