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Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)

Identification of novel micropollutants in wastewater by a combination of suspect and nontarget screening.


PMID 24012788

Abstract

To detect site-specific, suspected and formerly unknown contaminants in a wastewater treatment plant effluent, we established a screening procedure based on liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) with stepwise identification schemes. Based on automated substructure searches a list of 2160 suspected site-specific and documented water contaminants was reduced to those amenable to LC-HRMS. After searching chromatograms for exact masses of suspects, presumably false positive detections were stepwise excluded by retention time prediction, the evaluation of isotope patterns, ionization behavior, and HRMS/MS spectra. In nontarget analysis, peaks for identification were selected based on distinctive isotope patterns and intensity. The stepwise identification of nontarget compounds was automated by a plausibility check of molecular formulas using the Seven Golden Rules, an exclusion of compounds with presumably low commercial importance and an automated HRMS/MS evaluation. Six suspected and five nontarget chemicals were identified, of which two have not been previously reported as environmental pollutants.

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