We don’t need to tell you that the world of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) research is a big one and one that’s front and center in environmental research. Whether you work in industrial or academic environmental research, the issues surrounding these high-profile chemicals are at the front of your mind every day. How can your research, your lab group, and your next grant proposal, bring new knowledge to the state of the science?
Here, we look at some of the reasons why high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (HRMS/MS) using the X500R QTOF System is perfect for labs at the cutting edge of PFAS research.
Are you a regulated testing lab? Find out why our nominal mass spectrometry solutions are best suited to your routine PFAS screening needs:
What analytical technology is best suited to the needs of the PFAS research lab?
Over the years, interest has increased from just PFOS and PFOA to a small suite of perfluorinated carboxylates and sulfonates, to today, where the scope of “PFAS” encompasses a far greater number of compounds, including so-called Gen-X chemicals, manufacturing byproducts, chemical precursors, potential degradation products, and more. Analysis of these emerging chemicals in a variety of environmental or even biological samples is vital for contribution to current research. Whether your challenge is characterizing their structures, determining their toxicity, evaluating their environmental fate, or understanding the impact of exposure, the need to detect, identify, and quantify PFAS is pivotal.
Expanding analytical capabilities to include HRMS/MS makes non-targeted screening methods for rapid PFAS detection and identification, not only accessible but streamlined and achievable. This advanced technology is already here in the form of the quadruple time-of-flight (QTOF) system paired with liquid chromatography and has been successfully employed in discovery and research of environmental contaminants for decades.
The needs for additional analytical functionalities in leading environmental research labs are always evolving; solutions capable of rapidly characterizing hundreds of ‘unknowns’ or ‘suspect’ PFAS compounds, in a single run, even at trace levels, with intuitive and powerful data processing interface, are no longer a pipe dream for environmental scientists. One comprehensive solution available on the market is the X500R QTOF System.
What is HRMS, QTOF, and LC?
A few definitions:
- HRMS is any mass spectrometry capable of separating mass fragments at the fourth or fifth decimal place (exact mass) as opposed to the 'nominal' mass
- QTOF mass spectrometers combine TOF and quadrupole instruments, a pairing that results in high mass accuracy; speed and sensitivity are hallmarks of the QTOF
- LC is an analytical chromatography technique used to separate ions or molecules dissolved in a solvent
Why is HRMS so powerful for researching PFAS?
If you’re a PFAS researcher, you’d agree that PFAS research is complex. When identifying novel PFAS chemicals, compounds and metabolites in environmental samples, it’s most likely that you are facing:
- Hundreds of PFAS compounds that may be diverse
- Extensive sample preparation protocols, including a variety of ecological or biological matrices
- Need for sensitivity to detect environmentally relevant concentrations
- Limits in the number of compounds and classes targeted per analysis
- Time-intensive data processing, requiring in-depth handling to get to the unique and enlightening results for final publication
HRMS technology gives researchers the power to address these issues. By applying the advanced features and software workflows, researchers have access to screening, selectivity, and data processing capabilities to meet the modern needs of PFAS testing.
The X500R QTOF System Solution: Delivering the Benefits to Aid Your PFAS Screening
When you bring together the X500R QTOF System and an extensive PFAS MS/MS spectral library, great things happen. And here’s why:
- The X500R QTOFmass spec has a wide linear dynamic range offering excellent quantitation for screening; perfect for the full range of potential compounds in the PFAS family
- Only SCIEX instruments are built with the renowned Turbo V™ Ion Source, which offers enhanced sensitivity in negative ion mode to detect and quantify low concentration analytes in challenging matrices; perfect for PFAS compounds
- Reduce the risk of missing a critical component and skip out on laborious sample preparation. With SWATH® Acquisition, a data-independent acquisition (DIA) technique you will have comprehensive detection and quantitation of all potential compounds of interest in a sample(MS/MSALL); and save time when doing so.
- Combine this with the verified Fluorochemical High-Resolution MS/MS Spectral Library, and you have a comprehensive PFAS non-targeted solution available on the market. This verified library contains over 600 high-resolution MS/MS spectra for over 250 PFAS; greater confidence in making identifications
- SCIEX OS Software 1.5 offers sophisticated workflow and data processing capabilities to deliver a total solution on one platform
- Finally, you may be interested to know; the X500R QTOF System packs all this power into a small footprint; making it easy to integrate into your lab.
Together, these features result in a platform with the speed and mass accuracy required for high throughput non-targeted PFAS characterization.
Are you a regulated testing lab? Find out why how high-resolution mass spectrometry is a good system to have in your routine PFAS screening toolbox.