Analytica chimica acta

Determination of organophosphate flame retardants and plasticizers in lipid-rich matrices using dispersive solid-phase extraction as a sample cleanup step and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry.

PMID 26231904


A fast, robust and highly sensitive analysis method for determination of trace levels of organophosphate ester (OPE) flame retardants and plasticizers in lipid-rich samples was presently developed, and based on ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry coupled to a positive atmospheric pressure chemical ionization source (UHPLC-MS/MS-APCI(+)). The target OPEs in the sample were extracted from the biota samples, such as egg and liver, by ultrasonic extraction, and cleaned up further by dispersive solid phase extraction (d-ESP). As a result, background contamination was largely reduced. Different dispersive ESP sorbents were tested and primary secondary amine (PSA) bonded silica sorbents showed the best recoveries for these target OPEs. The recoveries obtained were in the range 54-113% (RSD<17%), with method limits of quantification (MLOQs) ranging between 0.06 and 0.29ng/g in egg, and 0.05 and 0.50ng/g w.w. in liver sample. The matrix effects (MEs) associated with using APCI(+) and ESI(+) sources were investigated. APCI(+) showed much less ion suppression than ESI(+) for the determination of these OPEs. For egg and liver samples, the APCI(+) ME values ranged from 40% to 94%, while ESI(+) ME values ranged from 0% to 36%. Although APCI(+) was used for the determination of OPEs, the ionization mechanism might mainly be a thermospray ionization process. This UHPLC-MS/MS-APCI(+) method showed good response linearity for calibration (R2>0.99). The proposed method was applied to real environmental bird egg and fish samples, where several OPE were quantifiable and different OPE patterns was observed between samples.