The Application of a Single-Column GC-MS-MS Method for the Rapid Analysis of Chemical Warfare Agents and Breakdown Products
Journal Article - Open Access
ARMY MEDICAL RESEARCH INST OF CHEMICAL DEFENSE ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND United States
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The development of one comprehensive gas chromatographic-triple quadrupole mass spectrometric GCMS-MS method for the analysis of nerve agents and their breakdown products can pose a challenge due to significant differences in analyte volatility. Nerve agent breakdown products typically have a low volatility, requiring a derivatization step prior to analysis by gas chromatography GC. However, nerve agent parent compounds are generally more volatile, which eliminates the need for derivatization and allows for direct analysis. Therefore, the analysis of these analytes is typically performed using separate analytical methods. This may require the use of multiple columns composed of different stationary phases to ensure the most efficient separation. With the wide selection of GC columns and derivatizing agents, it is potentially possible to develop a single-columnanalytical method that is suitable for the detection of nerve agents and their breakdown products. We evaluated six nerve agents tabun, sarin, soman, cyclosarin, VX and Russian VX and the six corresponding breakdown products EDPA, IMPA, PMPA, CMPAEMPA and MMPA. Chromatographic separation and multiple-reaction mode electron ionization detection of the nerve agents and silylated breakdown product derivatives were performed using an Agilent 7890 A gas chromatography GC equipped with a mid-polarity column, coupled to a7000 triple quadrupole mass spectrometry system. A fast 12.5 min, highly sensitive picogramand selective method was achieved. The feasibility of this method for nerve agent and breakdown product detection in real samples was demonstrated using nerve agent-spiked human plasma at various exposure times 3 min, 1 h and 24 h. Five of the six nerve agents and all six breakdown products were successfully detected.
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare