Fast and sensitive detection of acrolein in environmental water samples without derivatization using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry

  • Florentina Laura Chiriac
  • Iuliana Paun
  • Florinela Pirvu
  • Toma GalaonEmail author
Research Article


A fast and sensitive SPE-LC-MS/MS method for the determination of acrolein in environmental water samples using activated charcoal as SPE adsorbent was developed. The novelty of this study consists in acrolein extraction, separation and detection without the need of a derivatization process. Physicochemical properties of acrolein, such as low molecular weight and high polarity represent real challenges for extraction, separation, and detection of this pollutant using SPE-LC-MS/MS. These were addressed by choosing a suitable chromatographic column which ensures a good peak symmetry and retention for the analyte, as well as the choice of SPE adsorbent suitable for retaining very polar compounds like acrolein from the aqueous matrix. The chromatographic column was a Synergi Fusion RP (150 × 2.0 mm, 4.0 μm) with a C18 stationary phase modified with polar embedded amide groups. Activated charcoal adsorbent used as SPE extraction media was able to extract efficiently highly polar molecules such as acrolein and 13C3-acrylamide (internal standard) from water samples. Using this method, the obtained extraction recovery for acrolein was 88% at a 50 ng/L concentration level. Overall method quantitation limit (LOQ) for acrolein in water was established at 3.8 ng/L. The newly developed SPE-LC-MS/MS method was successfully applied to detect acrolein occurrence in wastewater and drinking water samples. Acrolein level in these samples ranged from LOQ to 122 ng/L.


Acrolein SPE-LC-MS/MS Polar-embedded column Activated charcoal Wastewater Drinking water 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_6634_MOESM1_ESM.docx (151 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 151 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research and Development Institute for Industrial Ecology – ECOINDBucharestRomania

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