EPA Science Inventory

MS-MS Approaches for the Analysis of Environmental Pollutants

Citation:

BETOWSKI, L. D. MS-MS Approaches for the Analysis of Environmental Pollutants. Chapter 4, A. T. Lebedev (ed.), Comprehensive Environmental Mass Spectrometry. ILM Publications, SAINT ALBANS, HERTFORDSHIRE, Uk, 12:528-570, (2012).

Description:

Concern about the environment and the start of environmental analysis coincided with the rise of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) was founded in 1970, and as the need for techniques to analyze environmental samples for pollutants was becoming evident, the application of mass spectrometry to the separation provided by gas chromatography and facilitated through the use of computerized systems was found to be almost a perfect match for doing the job. Therefore, for the next ten to fifteen years, GC-MS was the workhorse for environmental analyses. Especially for target analysis, whereby a specific, known compound was looked for in environmental samples, GC-MS had no peer. Relying on the efficient separation of volatile or semi-volatile compounds in the GC and the reproducible ionization effected in the MS, methods could be standardized, and regulatory strictures could be written for toxic compounds in the environment. GC-MS methods are still widely used today, but as regulators became more and more concerned with polar and non-volatile compounds, it was seen that these methods were not able to detect many compounds of interest that were being considered for regulation. Indeed, many of the early pollutants were put on regulatory lists because they could be detected by GC-MS. That is no longer a restriction.

Purpose/Objective:

To analyze samples for polar and non-volatile compounds, liquid chromatography - especially high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) - was seen as a technique to separate these intractable compounds. However, interfacing the HPLC to the MS was not an easy engineering problem, and this union lagged behind the GC-MS. After several attempts to build an interface capable of removing the liquid effluent from the HPLC and make it conducive to the vacuum region of the MS, researchers in the mid or late 1980s made exciting beakthroughs in liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The two major LC-MS techniques that were responsible for this advancement are thermospray and its successor electrospray. These techniques revolutionized mass spectrometry by opening up the field of polar and non-volatile pollutants (and biological substances) that could be analyzed.

URLs/Downloads:

BETOWSKI 10-110 BOOK CHAPTER MS-MS APPROACHES FOR THE ANALYSIS OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTANTS.PDF   (PDF,NA pp, 527 KB,  about PDF)

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (BOOK CHAPTER)
Start Date: 04/12/2012
Completion Date: 04/12/2012
Record Last Revised: 05/09/2012
Record Created: 11/04/2010
Record Released: 11/04/2010
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 231050

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIVISION

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY BRANCH