Simultaneous quantification of fifty-one odor-causing compounds in drinking water using gas chromatography-triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry


Chunmiao Wang , Jianwei Yu , Qingyuan Guo , Yu Zhao , Nan Cao , Zhiyong Yu , Min Yang

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2018.11.008

Received August 15, 2018,Revised , Accepted November 13, 2018, Available online November 30, 2018

Volume 31,2019,Pages 100-110

A wide range of compounds with various structural features can cause taste and odor (T&O) problems in drinking water. It would be desirable to determine all of these compounds using a simple analytical method. In this paper, a sensitive method combining liquid–liquid extraction (LLE) with gas chromatography-triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry (GC–MS/MS) was established to simultaneously analyze 51 odor-causing compounds in drinking water, including organic sulfides, aldehydes, benzenes, phenols, ethers, esters, ketones, nitrogenous heterocyclic compounds, 2-methylisoborneol and geosmin. Three deuterated analogs of target analytes, dimethyl disulfide-d6, benzaldehyde-d6 and o-cresol-3,4,5,6-d4, were used to correct the variations in recovery, and five isotope-labeled internal standards (4-chlorotoluene-d4, 1, 4-dichlorobenzene-d4, naphthalene-d8, acenaphthene-d10, phenanthrene-d10 respectively) were used prior to analysis to correct the variations arising from instrument fluctuations and injection errors. The calibration curves of the target compounds showed good linearity (R2 > 0.99, level = 7), and method detection limits (MDLs) below 1/10 of the odor threshold concentrations were achieved for most of the odorants (0.10–20.55 ng/L). The average recoveries of most of the analytes in tap water samples were between 70% and 120%, and the method was reproducible (RSD < 20%, n = 7). Additionally, concentrations of odor-causing compounds in water samples collected from three drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) were analyzed by this method. According to the results, dimethyl trisulfide, dimethyl disulfide and indole were considered to be the key odorants responsible for the swampy/septic odor. 2-Methylisoborneol and geosmin were detected as the main odor-causing compounds for musty/earthy odor in DWTP B.

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