Environmental forensics in groundwater coupling passive sampling and high resolution mass spectrometry for screening

Abstract : One of the difficulties encountered when monitoring groundwater quality is low and fluctuating concentration levels and complex mixtures of micropollutants, including emerging substances or transformation products. Combining passive sampling techniques with analysis by high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) should improve environmental metrology. Passive samplers accumulate compounds during exposure, which improves the detection of organic compounds and integrates pollution fluctuations. The Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Sampler (POCIS) were used in this study to sequester polar to semi-polar compounds. The methodology described here improves our knowledge of environmental pollution by highlighting and identifying pertinent compounds to be monitored in groundwater. The advantage of combining these two approaches is demonstrated on two different sites impacted by agricultural and/or urban pollution sources where groundwater was sampled for several months. Grab and passive sampling were done and analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to a hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer (LC-QTOF). Various data processing approaches were used (target, suspect and non-target screening). Target screening was based on research from compounds listed in a homemade database and suspect screening used a database compiled using literature data. The non-target screening was done using statistical tools such as principal components analysis (PCA) with direct connections between original chromatograms and ion intensity. Trend plots were used to highlight relevant compounds for their identification. The advantage of using POCIS to improve screening of polar organic compounds was demonstrated. Compounds undetected in water samples were detected with these tools. The subsequent data processing identified sentinel molecules, molecular clusters as compounds never revealed in these sampling sites, and molecular fingerprints. Samples were compared and multidimensional visualization of chemical patterns such as molecular fingerprints and recurrent or specific markers of each site were given.
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Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2016, 563-564, 〈10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.01.056〉
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Coralie Soulier, Charlotte Coureau, Anne Togola. Environmental forensics in groundwater coupling passive sampling and high resolution mass spectrometry for screening. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2016, 563-564, 〈10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.01.056〉. 〈hal-01342466〉

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