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Long Chain Perfluorinated Alkyl Acids Derivatisation and Identification in Biota and Abiota Matrices Using Gas Chromatography

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An analytical method involving derivatisation of perfluorocarboxylic acids for their analysis in abiotic and biotic matrices is presented. Derivatisation of the acid group to form a suitable alkyl ester provided a suitable compound for mass spectrometric detection in gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS) instrumental analysis. The acid is esterified by an alkyl halide i.e. benzyl bromide as the alkylating agent for perfluorocarboxylic acids quantification in fish and water by GC/MS. The gas chromatography method can be applied in the analysis perfluoro alkyl acids in water and biological matrices, especially where high levels of these compounds are expected. Typical values for precision obtained were 0.1%–10.0% with concentrations ranging from 0.2 to 1 μg/mL). Results demonstrate that GC/MS can supplement liquid chromatographic/mass spectroscopy method for quantification of fluorocarboxylic acid surfactants. The result indicates that there is need for more research on method analysis of perfluorinated acids in environmental matrices.

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We thank the research team at IWW (Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Institut für Wasser, Moritzstr. 26 D-45476 Mülheim an der Ruhr especially Werres Friedrich and Prof T. Hofmann and his research group at Mainz university. Many thanks go to Jörg Warke who helped us a lot in our inter-laboratory analysis as part of analytical quality management (AQM). We acknowledge DAAD for their financial support.

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Correspondence to Francis Orata.

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Orata, F., Quinete, N. & Wilken, R. Long Chain Perfluorinated Alkyl Acids Derivatisation and Identification in Biota and Abiota Matrices Using Gas Chromatography. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 83, 630 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-009-9756-y

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  • Derivatisation
  • Perfluorinated alkyl acids
  • Benzyl esters
  • GC/MS
  • Fish muscles
  • Water