The use of high resolution accurate mass spectrometry (HRAM) is a well-established technique, mainly for its utility in the determination of unknown contaminants. A recent publication by Leon Barron from King’s College in London discusses the use of HRAM for pharmaceuticals in wastewater (link to Science Direct article).
Additional examples of unknown contaminants detected in water using HRAM include iodated contrast media, perfluorinated acids, and lipophilic marine by a toxins (links to additional Science Direct articles). I recently wrote a blog post about using HRAM for the analysis of microcystins (link to blog post).
Quantify and Detect
A recent article in LC-GC magazine titled Fast and Accurate Determination of Algal Toxins in Water Using On-line Preconcentration and UHPLC–HRAM–MS describes a powerful method using a combination of on-line preconcentration and high-resolution, full-scan mass spectrometry to assess algal toxins applied to environmental samples. A major conclusion from this work using Orbitrap high resolution mass spectrometry (link to product page) is the ability to not only quantify microcystins (link to application note PDF) but also to detect non-target compounds.
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Benefits of Scan Mode Flexibility
What makes Orbitrap technology amazing compared to other examples of HRAM is its ability to quantify as well as confirm unknowns. There are additional examples in the literature demonstrating the Orbitrap technology’s ability to qualify and quantify using its scan mode flexibility. A relatively recent publication by Ganna Fedorova demonstrates an excellent comparison of the identification and quantification of illicit drugs in wastewater (link to article) between triple quad mass spectrometers and Orbitrap mass spectrometers. Quantitation of pesticides (link to application note PDF), including low detection limits and reproducibility, has also been shown for pesticides and wastewater.
In order to facilitate the identification and quantification of unknown compounds in environmental and food samples, we have developed a unique library with over 1600 compounds. This library (link to Sepctral Libraries product page) contains 5 to 6 HRAM MS/MS spectra per compound. I invite you to explore more about our amazing Orbitrap technology, and I look forward to hearing what you discover.
Check out our Environmental Community, a wonderful resource that is totally dedicated to our Environmental and IC customers and features the latest on-demand webinars, videos, application notes, and more.