Environmental contaminant monitoring traditionally relies on targeted analysis, and very few tools are currently available to monitor “unexpected” or “unknown” compounds. In the present study, a non-targeted workflow (suspect screening) was developed to investigate plastic-related chemicals and other environmental contaminants in a top predator freshwater fish species, the northern pike, from the St. Lawrence River, Canada. Samples were extracted using sonication-assisted liquid extraction and analysed by high performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (HPLC-QTOF-MS). Ten bisphenol compounds were used to test the analytical performances of the method, and satisfactory results were obtained in terms of instrumental linearity (r2?>?0.97), recoveries, (86.53-119.32%), inter-day precision and method detection limits. The non-targeted workflow data processing parameters were studied, and the peak height filters (peak filtering step) were found to influence significantly the capacity to detect and identify trace chemicals in pike muscle extracts. None of the ten bisphenol analogues were detected in pike extracts suggesting the absence of accumulation for these chemicals in pike muscle. However, the non-targeted workflow enabled the identification of diethyl phthalate (DEP) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in pike extracts. This approach thus can be also applied to various contaminants in other biological matrices and environmental samples.
Authors: Tian L, Verreault J, Houde M, Bayen S.
; Full Source: Environmental Pollution. 2019 Sep 11;255(Pt 1):113223. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113223. [Epub ahead of print]