Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 21, pp 6257–6273 | Cite as

Transformation products of emerging contaminants in the environment and high-resolution mass spectrometry: a new horizon

  • Yolanda PicóEmail author
  • Damià Barceló
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry in Food and Environmental Analysis


It is crucial to study the presence of transformation products (TPs) of emerging contaminants that can be potentially found in the environment after biological or chemical degradation. This review focuses on the potential and shortcomings of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to identify these TPs, with emphasis on recent developments in mass analyzers, data evaluation, and compound identification workflows and applications. Advances in HRMS technologies, including direct introduction or in-line chromatographic separation modes, ionization techniques, mass analyzers, and detection methods, have led to powerful tools to assess the molecular changes and the opening of new horizons to identify unknown molecules. Advances in HRMS pertaining to the generation of analytical data for the main methods to identify TPs, including nontargeted and targeted approaches as they are applied to elucidate the structure of TPs, are also discussed.


Abiotic degradation Aquatic environment Biodegradation Emerging contaminants Liquid chromatography Orbitrap Time-of-flight Transformation product Accurate-mass measurement 



This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through the projects “Assessing and Predicting Effects on Water Quantity and Quality in Iberian Rivers Caused by Global Change (SCARCE)” (no. CSD2009-00065; and “Evaluation of Emerging Contaminants in the Turia River Basins: From Basic Research to the Application of Environmental Forensics (EMERFOR)” (GCL2011-29703-C02-02;


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Food and Environmental Safety Research Group (SAMA-UV), CIDE (UV, GV, CSIC), Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of ValenciaBurjassotSpain
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Chemistry, IDAEA-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Catalan Institute for Water Research- ICRAGironaSpain

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