Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) reduce indoor air quality. They are associated with negative effects on human health and wellbeing. In terms of legislation requirements and consumer pressure, VOCs from engineered wood materials are reduced due to use of water based additives and adhesives in their formulation. Therefore, the main source of VOCs remains the raw material—the wood itself. Alternatives to wood strands, annual plant materials, are tested nowadays due to their advantages: The short cycle; the raw material is sourced naturally and can be produced more sustainably; and faster sequestering atmospheric carbon. The aim of this work was to investigate volatile organic compounds emitted from untreated and chemically treated hemp shive and compare the emission characteristics to soft wood strands. Simple, yet effective chemical treatments, like tartaric acid, citric acid and sodium bicarbonate were used in order to reduce VOC emissions. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) combined with headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) was used to analyse the volatile compounds emissions. Specific VOCs like acetic acid; Benzaldehyde; hexanal, α-, β-pinenes; limonene and camphene were monitored before and after the treatments. Non-target screening was performed to identify the most responsible compound for differentiation of samples according to their treatments. Comparing untreated samples, spruce strands showed highest amounts of total VOCs, while untreated hemp shive showed the lowest. Further, due to the chemical modification of hemp woody core components, such as hemicelluloses, lignin, and extractives, the key VOCs showed significant changes leading to an increase in the amount of total emissions.
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