Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 397, Issue 3, pp 943–951 | Cite as

LC–high resolution MS in environmental analysis: from target screening to the identification of unknowns

Trends

Abstract

This article provides an overview of the state-of-the-art and future trends of the application of LC–high resolution mass spectrometry to the environmental analysis of polar micropollutants. Highly resolved and accurate hybrid tandem mass spectrometry such as quadrupole/time-of-flight and linear ion trap/orbitrap technology allows for a more reliable target analysis with reference standards, a screening for suspected analytes without reference standards, and a screening for unknowns. A reliable identification requires both high resolving power and high mass spectral accuracy to increase selectivity against the matrix background and for a correct molecular formula assignment to unknown compounds. For the identification and structure elucidation of unknown compounds within a reasonable time frame and with a reasonable soundness, advanced automated software solutions as well as improved prediction systems for theoretical fragmentation patterns, retention times, and ionization behavior are needed.

Figure

a Plot of nominal m/z vs. mass defect of all matrix ions observed in two retention time (Rt) windows of a full-scan HRMS chromatogram at a resolution of 60,000 from a background soil extract. b Extracted ion chromatograms of the herbicide linuron spiked into a background soil extract and of a suspected transformation product of lenacil in a soil extract, both showing a different mass defect

Keywords

High resolution mass spectrometry Mass accuracy Polar organic compounds Non-target screening Resolving power 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Krauss
    • 1
  • Heinz Singer
    • 1
  • Juliane Hollender
    • 1
  1. 1.EawagSwiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologyDübendorfSwitzerland

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