Fast separation and quantification method for nitroguanidine and 2,4-dinitroanisole by ultrafast liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

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Analytical Chemistry


Explosives are now persistent environmental pollutants that are targets of remediation and monitoring in a wide array of environmental media. Nitroguanidine (NG) and 2,4-dinitroanisole (DNAN) are two insensitive energetic compounds recently used as munitions explosives. To protect our environment and human health, the levels of these compounds in soils and waters need to be monitored. However, no sensitive analytical methods, such as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), have been developed for detecting these new compounds at trace levels and to be concurrently applied to monitor the common explosives. In general, the concentrations of explosives in either soil or water samples are very low and widely distributed. Therefore, a fast and sensitive method is required to monitor those compounds and increase our ability to find and address the threats they pose to human health and ecological receptors. In this study, a fast and sensitive analytical method has been developed to quantitatively determine NG and DNAN in soil, tap water, and river water by using ultrafast LC-MS/MS. To make this method a comprehensive analytical technique for other explosives as well, it has included other commonly used explosives in the method development, such as octahydro-1,3,5,7- tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX), 1,3,5-trinitroper-hydro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), 2-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene (ADNT), and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN). The method detection limits (MDLs) of these compounds in soil ranged from 0.2 to 5 ppb, and a good linearity was obtained over a concentration range of 0.5-200 ppb. The recoveries of some compounds are equal to or better than the current EPA methods but with much higher sensitivities. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

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