Rapid detection of taste and odour compounds in water using the newly invented chemi-ionisation technique coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry

Taste and odour (T&O) compounds are widespread in water environments and have attracted considerable public attention. Nowadays, the standard detections of these chemicals rely mainly on off-line methods such as GC-MS or evaluation by trained analysts’ senses. In this study, we report a method for the rapid detection of T&O compounds in water by exploiting a newly invented chemi-ionisation source, in combination with headspace vapor measurement at room temperature. The calibrated limits of detection (LODs) of 2-methylbutyraldehyde, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), methyl methacrylate (MMA), 2-isobutyl-3-methyoxypyrazine (IBMP), and 2-isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine (IPMP) are in the range of 3.5-50.2?ng?L-1, and the estimated LODs of 2-methylisoborneol (2-MIB) and geosmin (GSM) are 0.25 and 0.77?ng?L-1, respectively. The calibration results reveal that the instrumental LODs for 2-methylbutyraldehyde, MTBE, MMA, ?-cyclocitral, 2-MIB, and GSM are 1-2 orders of magnitude better than the odour thresholds of humans. The accuracy, precision, recovery, and linearity (R2) of the method are tested. Water samples from city tap water and three rivers in Beijing are assessed using this technique, and the typical T&O compositions are observed with concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 297?ng?L-1. The new ultra-sensitive rapid detection method shows comparable sensitivities to the existing off-line technique and displays great potential for real-time detection of T&O pollution in water environments.

Authors: Zhang H, Ma P, Shu J, Yang B, Huang J. ; Full Source: Analytica Chimica Acta. 2018 Dec 4; 1035:119-128. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2018.07.051. Epub 2018 Jul 24.