Application of gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry to determine a wide range of petrogenic alkylated PAHs in biotic samples.

Research paper by Lisbet L Sørensen, Sonnich S Meier, Svein A SA Mjøs

Indexed on: 30 Jul '16Published on: 30 Jul '16Published in: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry


Due to the inherent toxicity of these compounds, analysis of petrogenic alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heteroaromatic compounds in environmental samples is crucial. However, most existing methods are not sensitive enough when the analyte concentrations are low. Gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS) is well suited to tackle this challenge, but methods are yet to be fully developed.A gas chromatograph triple quadrupole mass spectrometer operated in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode was applied for the analysis. MRM transitions and analytical conditions were optimized for the cluster analysis of 24 different compound classes of alkylated PAHs and heteroaromatics present in crude oils. Further, the method was verified and applied to analyze the body burden of these compounds in crude oil-exposed haddock eggs.A comprehensive and sensitive method for the determination of C1-C4 alkylated naphthalenes, benzothiophenes, fluorenes, phenanthrenes, dibenzothiophenes, chrysenes, pyrenes and fluoranthenes was developed. The method showed good precision (RSD < 15 %), and the obtained concentrations were similar to those obtained by traditional GC/MS analysis.We demonstrate the successful application of this method towards crude oil-exposed fish eggs, where we are able to precisely measure total PAH body burden below 0.5 µg/g. The demonstrated method facilitates further miniaturization in sample preparation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.