The Role of HRMS in Searching for Xenobiotic Compounds in Environmental Media

Advances in High Resolution Mass Spectrometry and its Emerging Environmental Applications
Oral Presentation

Prepared by M. Strynar
US EPA/ORD/CEMM, , , United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 919-606-6905


Mass spectrometry is at the core of understanding xenobiotic compounds in environmental media. Robust, validated methods that have been developed and used over many years help to ensure that monitoring of chemicals in the environment continue. These methods have a suite of analytes that have been included for analysis and are often called “targeted” methods as they target those analytes. While these methods perform very well for their intended purpose and must continue, there is a deficiency in this approach. Only the chemicals monitored for using these techniques can be measured. Enter the role of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) to fill this gap. Due to the intrinsic characteristic of HRMS instruments in high resolving power and exceptional mass accuracy novel xenobiotic compounds can be discovered in environmental media on a regular basis. HRMS instruments can be used to perform suspect screening analysis (looking for chemicals in a database) or true non-targeted analysis (looking for chemicals that are not in databases). As the world of chemical manufacture and creation grows at a rapid pace, so must analytical approaches to keep up with this pace in environmental monitoring. HRMS analysis should not replace targeted analysis methods, rather inform the growth of new methods and suites of analytes to consider for future targeted methods. This talk will focus on the critical role HRMS played in the discovery and monitoring of novel xenobiotic compounds in various industrially impacted settings.