Analysing persistent organic pollutants in eggs, blood and tissue of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) using gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS)
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- van de Merwe, J.P., Hodge, M., Whittier, J.M. et al. Anal Bioanal Chem (2009) 393: 1719. doi:10.1007/s00216-009-2608-0
Investigation into persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in sea turtles is an important area of conservation research due to the harmful effects of these chemicals. However, the analysis of POPs in the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) has been limited by methods with relatively high limits of detection and high costs associated with multiple sample injections into complex arrangements of analytical equipment. The present study aimed to develop a method that could detect a large number of POPs in the blood, eggs and tissue of C. mydas at trace concentrations. A gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) method was developed that could report 125 POP compounds to a limit of detection of <35 pg g−1 using a single sample injection. The recoveries of internal standards ranged from 30% to 96%, and the standard reference materials were reported to within 70% of the certified values. The coefficient of variation of ten replicates of pooled egg sample was <20% for all compounds, indicating low within-run variation. This GC-MS/MS method is an improvement of previous methods for analysing POPs in C. mydas in that more compounds can be reported at lower concentrations and the accuracy and precision of the method are sound. This is particularly important for C. mydas as they occupy a low trophic level and have lower concentrations of POPs. This method is also simple to set up, and there are minimal differences in sample preparation for the different tissue types.