Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 21, pp 6289–6299 | Cite as

Advances in liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry for quantitative and qualitative environmental analysis

  • Jaume Aceña
  • Serena Stampachiacchiere
  • Sandra PérezEmail author
  • Damià Barceló
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry in Food and Environmental Analysis


This review summarizes the advances in environmental analysis by liquid chromatography–high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC–HRMS) during the last decade and discusses different aspects of their application. LC–HRMS has become a powerful tool for simultaneous quantitative and qualitative analysis of organic pollutants, enabling their quantitation and the search for metabolites and transformation products or the detection of unknown compounds. LC–HRMS provides more information than low-resolution (LR) MS for each sample because it can accurately determine the mass of the molecular ion and its fragment ions if it can be used for MS–MS. Another advantage is that the data can be processed using either target analysis, suspect screening, retrospective analysis, or non-target screening. With the growing popularity and acceptance of HRMS analysis, current guidelines for compound confirmation need to be revised for quantitative and qualitative purposes. Furthermore, new commercial software and user-built libraries are required to mine data in an efficient and comprehensive way. The scope of this critical review is not to provide a comprehensive overview of the many studies performed with LC–HRMS in the field of environmental analysis, but to reveal its advantages and limitations using different workflows.


High-resolution mass spectrometry Liquid chromatography Transformation products 



S. Pérez acknowledges the contract from the Ramon y Cajal Program of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. This work has been financially supported by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Consolidated Research Groups “2014 SGR 418 - Water and Soil Quality Unit”, 2014 SGR 291.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaume Aceña
    • 1
  • Serena Stampachiacchiere
    • 2
  • Sandra Pérez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Damià Barceló
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Water and Soil Quality Research GroupIDAEA-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Department of ChemistrySapienza Università di RomaRomeItaly
  3. 3.Catalan Institute of Water Research - ICRAC/Emili Grahit, 101, Edifici H2O, Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la Universitat de GironaGironaSpain

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