Silver-ion Solid Phase Extraction Separation of Classical, Aromatic, Oxidized, and Heteroatomic Naphthenic Acids from Oil Sands Process-Affected Water.

Research paper by Rongfu R Huang, Yuan Y Chen, Mohamed M Gamal El-Din

Indexed on: 18 May '16Published on: 18 May '16Published in: Environmental Science & Technology


The separation of classical, aromatic, oxidized, and heteroatomic (sulfur-containing) naphthenic acids (NAs) species from unprocessed and ozone-treated oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) was performed using silver-ion (Ag-ion) solid phase extraction (SPE) without requirement of pre-methylation for NAs. OSPW samples before SPE and SPE fractions were characterized using ultra performance liquid chromatography ion mobility time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-IM-TOFMS) to corroborate the separation of distinct NA species. The mass spectrum identification applied a mass tolerance of ±1.5 mDa due to the mass errors of NAs were measured within this range, allowing the identification of O2S-NAs from O2-NAs. Moreover, separated NA species facilitated the tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) characterization of NA compounds due to the removal of matrix and simplified composition. MS/MS results showed that classical, aromatic, oxidized, and sulfur-containing NA compounds were eluted into individual SPE fractions. Overall results indicated that the separation of NA species using Ag-ion SPE is a valuable method to extract individual NA species that are of great interest for environmental toxicology and wastewater treatment research, to conduct species-specific studies. Furthermore, the separated NA species in mg level could be widely used as the standard materials for environmental monitoring of NAs from various contamination sites.