Use of GC/MS Triple Quadrupole Instrumentation for Nitrosamine Analysis

Poster Presentation

Prepared by D. Cardona
Thermo Scientific, 2215 Grand Avenue Parkway, Austin, TX, 78728, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 512-660-9715


“Classical” nitrosamine analysis was performed for many years by gas chromatography using a thermal energy analyzer (TEA) as detector. Today mass spectrometric methods have increasingly replaced the TEA. EPA method 521 by Munch and Bassett from 2004 provided a suitable GC-MS method based on chemical ionization (CI) using an ion trap mass spectrometer with internal ionization, in contrast to standard quadrupole or ion trap mass spectrometers using a dedicated (external) ion source design. At present current developments in GC-MS triple quadrupole technology deliver enhanced sensitivity and selectivity for small molecule mass range compounds and allow the detection of nitrosamines at very low concentration levels even in complex matrix samples. This is made possible by using a much simpler and standard approach with the regular electron impact ionization (EI) for a very straightforward method for low level nitrosamine analysis. The work completed demonstrates a GC-MS/MS method for routine detection and quantitation nitrosamine compounds. Special focus in the method development process was given to provide a fast, easy to implement routine method with the required sensitivity for monitoring nitrosamine compounds. The final method was evaluated for validation criteria including linearity, accuracy and precision. The method detection limit was determined in the 1 ppb range. Spiked and non-spiked water samples analyzed for low concentrations of target nitrosamines.