Main content area

Non-target screening of (semi-)volatiles in food-grade polymers by comparison of atmospheric pressure gas chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight and electron ionization mass spectrometry

Su, Qi-Zhi, Vera, Paula, Van de Wiele, Cathy, Nerín, Cristina, Lin, Qin-Bao, Zhong, Huai-Ning
Talanta 2019 v.202 pp. 285-296
atmospheric pressure, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, ions, polypropylenes, screening, silicone
Atmospheric pressure gas chromatography (APGC) coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight (QTOF) and electron ionization mass spectrometry together with commercial library search are two complementary techniques for non-target screening of volatile and semi-volatile compounds. Optimization was first conducted to achieve easier search of correspondent peaks between the two systems. Analytical strategy for the determination of volatile and semi-volatile compound with different identification confidence levels was then proposed and applied to food contact grade polypropylene (PP) samples. Identification was found to be much easier and less time-consuming especially when correspondent peak was found in the two systems with the help of library search, exact mass of precursor and fragment ions as well as Kovats Index (KI). The behavior of APGC-QTOF-MS was also further investigated. Apart from the M+. ion and the well-known adduct [M+H]+ others such as [M-3H + O]+, [M-3H+2O]+ and [M-H+3O]+ were also observed for n-alkanes. Besides, new reaction products were found, formed by diol compounds (1-Monostearoylglycerol, 2-Monostearoylglycerol and NX 8000K) and silanediol dimethyl, which would be a transformation product of the silicone base septum or the methyl 5% phenyl polysiloxane based column. These new compounds were only detected in APGC-MS-QTOF as EI-GC-MS was not enough sensitive for this purpose.