Selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) combined with GERSTEL automation greatly simplifies analysis of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and the xylenes (BTEX) in water. This application note demonstrates the linearity, repeatability and sensitivity achievable with automated SIFT-MS. Automated static headspace (SH)-SIFT-MS provides sample throughputs at least three-fold higher than traditional purge-and-trap-gas chromatography methods.
Various technologies have been employed to analyze the aromatic hydrocarbons benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (collectively known as BTEX) for different matrices. The purge and trap approach is most commonly applied for analysis of BTEX compounds in water, followed by gas chromatography analysis coupled with either flame ionization detection (GC-FID) or mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Not only are these methods slow, but the GC requires that moisture is removed prior to analysis. The result is low sample throughput.
In contrast, application of SIFT-MS accelerates throughput through direct headspace analysis. That is, SIFT-MS eliminates the need to purge, trap, and dry the sample, plus it analyses the sample within tens of seconds. In this application note, we describe the simplified, direct SIFT-MS analysis of BTEX in the headspace of drinking water. At least 12 samples per hour are analyzed using this approach without compromising the ability to selectively analyze isomeric ethylbenzene and total xylenes.
This study demonstrates that SIFT-MS is a very powerful new technique for rapid determination of BTEX in water to sub-ng L-1 concentrations via direct headspace analysis. SIFT-MS simplifies and speeds analysis by eliminating preconcentration and drying steps due to its high sensitivity and robustness to humidity. In doing so, SIFT-MS provides substantial throughput increases over traditional purge and trap-GC methods.
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