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Issue 11, 2001
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Trace level analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface waters by solid phase extraction (SPE) and gas chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry (GC-ITMS)

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Abstract

Ontario Provincial Water Quality Objectives for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in surface waters require low parts per trillion (ng L−1)/high parts per quadrillion (pg L−1) detection limits. To meet these monitoring requirements, a solid phase extraction-gas chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry (SPE-GC-ITMS) method was developed. Seventeen priority PAHs commonly monitored in surface and drinking waters were examined using an external ionization ion trap mass spectrometer operated in selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode. Under 70 eV electron ionization (EI) conditions, both the quantitative [M]+˙ ion and confirmatory [M − 2H]+˙ ion were formed in classical abundance ratios. Each of these ion species was isolated in the ion trap using a specific scan function. However, to overcome poor levels of confirmatory ion abundance which otherwise restrict PAH method detection limits (MDLs), the abundance of [M − 2H]+˙ ions was augmented during isolation by causing the dissociation of [M]+˙ with the broad-band waveform used for high mass ion ejection. Augmenting the [M − 2H]+˙ signal intensity facilitated the achievement of MDLs of ∼1 ng L−1. PAHs in surface water samples that were not detected by current Ontario Ministry of the Environment high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-fluorescence and GC-single-stage quadrupole mass spectrometry methods were detected and quantified using the ion trap mass spectrometry SIM method. The data produced by all three methods on natural water samples fortified at sub-parts per billion (ppb) levels were comparable. When applied to Standards Council of Canada/Canadian Association for Environmental Analytical Laboratories (SCC/CAEAL, www.CAEAL.ca) accreditation audit samples, the SPE-GC-ITMS method results met all performance evaluation criteria.

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Article information


Submitted
23 Apr 2001
Accepted
22 Aug 2001
First published
23 Oct 2001

Analyst, 2001,126, 1974-1979
Article type
Paper

Trace level analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surface waters by solid phase extraction (SPE) and gas chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry (GC-ITMS)

P. W. Crozier, J. B. Plomley and L. Matchuk, Analyst, 2001, 126, 1974
DOI: 10.1039/B103723B

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