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Journal of chromatography. A

Wipe selection for the analysis of surface materials containing chemical warfare agent nitrogen mustard degradation products by ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.


PMID 23218189

Abstract

Degradation products arising from nitrogen mustard chemical warfare agent were deposited on common urban surfaces and determined via surface wiping, wipe extraction, and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry detection. Wipes investigated included cotton gauze, glass fiber filter, non-woven polyester fiber and filter paper, and surfaces included several porous (vinyl tile, painted drywall, wood) and mostly non-porous (laminate, galvanized steel, glass) surfaces. Wipe extracts were analyzed by ultra-high pressure liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC–MS/MS) and compared with high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC–MS/MS) results. An evaluation of both techniques suggests UPLC–MS/MS provides a quick and sensitive analysis of targeted degradation products in addition to being nearly four times faster than a single HPLC run, allowing for greater throughput during a wide-spread release concerning large-scale contamination and subsequent remediation events. Based on the overall performance of all tested wipes, filter paper wipes were selected over other wipes because they did not contain interferences or native species (TEA and DEA) associated with the target analytes, resulting in high percent recoveries and low background levels during sample analysis. Other wipes, including cotton gauze, would require a pre-cleaning step due to the presence of large quantities of native species or interferences of the targeted analytes. Percent recoveries obtained from a laminate surface were 47–99% for all nitrogen mustard degradation products. The resulting detection limits achieved from wipes were 0.2 ng/cm(2) for triethanolamine (TEA), 0.03 ng/cm(2) for N-ethyldiethanolamine (EDEA), 0.1 ng/cm(2) for N-methyldiethanolamine (MDEA), and 0.1 ng/cm(2) for diethanolamine (DEA).