[Post-print] Direct analysis of naphthenic acids in constructed wetland samples by condensed phase membrane introduction mass spectrometry

Published On 2020/5/10

The application of direct mass spectrometry techniques to the analysis of complex samples has a number of advantages including reduced sample handling, higher sample throughput, in situ process monitoring, and the potential for adaptation to on-site analysis. We report the application of a semi-permeable capillary hollow fibre membrane probe (immersed directly into an aqueous sample) coupled to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer by a continuously flowing methanol acceptor phase for the rapid analysis of naphthenic acids with unit mass resolution. The intensity of the naphthenic acid-associated peaks in the mass spectrum are normalized to an internal standard in the acceptor phase for quantitation and the relative abundance of the peaks in the mass spectrum are employed to monitor compositional changes in the naphthenic acid mixture using principle component analysis. We demonstrate the direct analysis of a synthetic oil sands process-affected water for classical naphthenic acids (CnH2n+ zO2) as they are attenuated through constructed wetlands containing sedge (Carex aquatilis), cattail (Typha latifolia), or bulrush (Schoenoplectus acutus). Quantitative results for on-line membrane sampling compare favourably to those obtained by solid-phase extraction high-resolution mass spectrometry. Additionally, chemometric analysis of the mass spectra indicates a clear discrimination between naphthenic acid-influenced and natural background waters. Furthermore, the compositional changes within complex naphthenic acid mixtures track closely with the degree of attenuation. Overall, the technique is successful in following changes …

Published On

2020/5/10

Authors

Dena McMartin, PhD, PEng, PAg

Dena McMartin, PhD, PEng, PAg

University of Saskatchewan

Position

Professor of Environmental Engineering

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watershed management

water quality

oilsands tailings waters

climate extremes

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CG Gill

CG Gill

Vancouver Island University

Position

Professor of Chemistry

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mass spectrometry

analytical chemistry

membrane introduction mass spectrometry

environmental chemistry

analytical instrument

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Kyle Duncan

Kyle Duncan

Vancouver Island University

Position

Department of Chemistry Nanaimo BC Canada

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mass spectrometry

bioanalytical chemistry

electrospray ionization

mass spectrometry imaging

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Joseph Monaghan

Joseph Monaghan

Vancouver Island University

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Direct Mass Spectrometry

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Other Articles from authors

CG Gill

CG Gill

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Article Details
Joseph Monaghan

Joseph Monaghan

Vancouver Island University

Separations

Online membrane sampling for the mass spectrometric analysis of oil sands process affected water-derived naphthenic acids in real-world samples

Large volumes of oil sands process-affected waters (OSPW) result from heavy oil extraction in Alberta, Canada. Currently, a toxic legacy of ca. 500 Mm3 is stored in tailings ponds under a zero-discharge policy. OSPW is a complex mixture of suspended and dissolved materials including a wide range of inorganic and organic contaminants. Classically defined naphthenic acids (NAs; CnH2n+ZO2) are one of the primary toxic fractions in OSPW and have therefore been the subject of considerable research interest. Most studies employ considerable sample cleanup followed by liquid chromatography and/or high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) for the characterization of these complex mixtures. However, these strategies can be time- and cost-intensive, limiting the scope of research and adoption for regulatory purposes. Condensed phase membrane introduction mass spectrometry (CP-MIMS) is emerging as a “fit-for-purpose” approach for the analysis of NAs. This technique directly interfaces the mass spectrometer with an aqueous sample using a hydrophobic semi-permeable membrane, requiring only pH adjustment to convert NAs to a membrane-permeable form. Here, we examine the perm-selectivity of classical NAs (O2) relative to their more oxidized counterparts (O3–O7) and heteroatomic (N, S) species collectively termed naphthenic acid fraction compounds (NAFCs). The investigation of 14 model compounds revealed that classically defined NAs are greater than 50-fold more membrane permeable than their oxidized/heteroatomic analogs. HRMS analysis of real OSPW extracts with and without membrane clean-up further supported …

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