Evaluation of GC-EI&CI-TOFMS for Nontarget Analysis of Industrial Wastewater Using Hydrophilic–Lipophilic-Balanced SPME

Evaluation of GC-EI&CI-TOFMS for Nontarget Analysis of Industrial Wastewater Using Hydrophilic–Lipophilic-Balanced SPME

Lucie K. Tintrop1,  Steffen Bräkling1,  Marleen Vetter1,  Willi Eßer1,  Felix Drees1,  Amir Salemi1,  Maik A. Jochmann2,  Sonja Klee1, and  Torsten C. Schmidt1
1TOFWERK AG, Schorenstrasse 39, 3645 Thun, Switzerland; 2Instrumental Analytical Chemistry, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstraße 5, 45141 Essen, Germany Centre for Water and Environmental Research, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstraße 5, 45141 Essen, Germany.

Published ACS Publications, April 2024. (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.analchem.3c04114)

Abstract

The evaluation of nontarget analysis (NTA) techniques for the monitoring of wastewater is important as wastewater is an anthropogenic pollution source for aquatic ecosystems and a threat to human and environmental health. This study presents the proof-of-concept NTA of industrial wastewater samples. A prototype hydrophilic–lipophilic-balanced (HLB) SPME and gas chromatography interfaced with time-of-flight high-resolution mass spectrometry (GC-TOFMS) with electron ionization (EI) and chemical ionization (CI) in parallel are employed. The HLB-SPME consists of a poly(divinylbenzene-coN-vinylpyrrolidone) structure, allowing the extraction of hydrophilic as well as lipophilic substances. As the combination of parallel CI and EI data provides a comprehensive data set as a unique feature, this study is strongly focused on the compound identification procedure and confidence reporting of exemplary substances. Furthermore, the use of three different CI reagent ions, including [N2H]+/[N4H]+, [H3O]+, and [NH4]+, enables a broad range of analytes to be ionized in terms of selectivity and softness. The complementary information provided by EI and CI data allows a level 3 identification or higher in 69% of cases. The polarity coverage based on the physicochemical properties of the analytes (such as volatility, water solubility, hydrophilicity, and lipophilicity) was visualized by using Henry’s law and octanol–water partitioning constants. In conclusion, the presented approach is shown to be valuable for water analysis and allows enhanced and accelerated compound identification compared to utilizing only one type of ionization.