Integration of solid phase extraction with HILIC-MS/MS for analysis of free amino acids in source water

Xing-Fang Li , Junlang Qiu , Caley Craven , Nicholas Wawryk , Kristin Carroll , Carsten Prasse , Xin Yang , Chao Chen , Bin Xu


Received February 28, 2022,Revised , Accepted April 20, 2022, Available online April 30, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 190-196

Amino acids (AAs) are prevalent in source water, particularly during spring run-off. Monitoring of amino acids in source water is desirable for water treatment plants (WTP) to indicate changes in source water quality. The objective of this study was to establish analytical procedures for reliable monitoring of amino acids in source water. Therefore, we examined two different methods, large volume inject (LVI) and solid phase extraction (SPE), for sample preparation prior to HILIC-MS/MS. The LVI-HILIC-MS/MS method can provide fast and sensitive detection for clean samples, but suffers from matrix effects, resulting in irreproducible separation and shortening column lifetime. We have demonstrated that SPE was necessary prior to HILIC-MS/MS to achieve reproducible and reliable quantification of AAs in source water. A natural heterocyclic amine 1-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-β-carboline-3-carboxylic acid (MTCCA) was also included in the method to indicate changes in other natural nitrogenous compounds in source water. The SPE-HILIC-MS/MS method was able to achieve limits of detection from 2.6-3400 ng/L for the amino acids and MTCCA with RSDs (n=3) of 1.1%-4.8%. As well, retention times (RT) of the analytes were reproducible with variation less than 0.01 min (n=3) through the entire project. We further applied the SPE-HILIC-MS/MS method to determine AAs in authentic source water samples collected from two drinking water treatment plants (WTPs) during the 2021 spring run-off season. The results support that the SPE-HILIC-MS/MS method does not require derivatization and can provide reliable, accurate, and robust analysis of AAs and MTCCA in source water, supporting future monitoring of source water quality.

Copyright © Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press. All rights reserved.京ICP备05002858号-3