Research Paper

Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 405, Issue 12, pp 4159-4166

First online:

Characterization of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for the determination of acrylamide in complex environmental samples

  • Patrick D. DeArmondAffiliated withOffice of Research and Development, National Exposure Laboratory, Environmental Sciences Division, United States Environmental Protection AgencyU.S. Environmental Protection Agency Email author 
  • , Amanda L. DiGoregorioAffiliated withStudent Services Contractor, United States Environmental Protection Agency

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This work describes the characterization of a solid-phase extraction (SPE) and liquid-chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry-based method for the analysis of acrylamide (AA) in complex environmental waters. The method involved the SPE of AA using activated carbon, and the AA was detected with tandem mass spectrometry after separating on an ion exclusion high-performance liquid chromatography column. The method incorporated two labeled AA standards for quantification using isotope dilution and to assess absolute extraction recovery. The method was evaluated for inter- and intra-day precision and accuracy. The method was both accurate (i.e., <30 % error) and precise (i.e., <20 % relative standard deviation), with absolute extraction recoveries averaging 37 %. The mass spectrometry provided excellent sensitivity, with instrumental limits of detection and quantitation values of 23 and 75 pg, respectively. The method detection limit was determined to be 0.021 μg/L. The analysis of AA was successfully performed in real-world samples that contained total dissolved solids concentrations ranging from 23,600 to 297,000 mg/L and AA concentrations ranging from 0.082 to 1.0 μg/L.

Product ion spectra of, from top to bottom, acrylamide, acrylamide-1-13C, and acrylamide-2,3,3-d3. The predominant peak in each spectrum was used for quantitation


Acrylamide Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry Ion exclusion Activated carbon Solid-phase extraction