Rapid communications in mass spectrometry : RCM

Membrane inlet mass spectrometry of volatile organohalogen compounds in drinking water.

PMID 10510419


The analysis of organic pollutants in drinking water is a topic of wide interest, reflecting on public health and life quality. Many different methodologies have been developed and are currently employed in this context, but they often require a time-consuming sample pre-treatment. This step affects the recovery of the highly volatile compounds. Trace analysis of volatile organic pollutants in water can be performed 'on-line' by membrane inlet mass spectrometry (MIMS). In MIMS, the sample is separated from the vacuum of the mass spectrometer by a thin polymeric hollow-fibre membrane. Gases and organic volatile compounds diffuse and concentrate from the sample into the hollow-fibre membrane, and from there into the mass spectrometer. The main advantages of the technique are that no pre-treatment of samples before analysis is needed and that it has fast response times and on-line monitoring capabilities. This paper reports the set-up of the analytical conditions for the analysis of volatile organohalogen compounds (chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, chlorodibromomethane, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and carbon tetrachloride). Linearity of response, repeatability, detection limits, and spectra quality are evaluated.