Nontarget approach for environmental monitoring by GC x GC-HRTOFMS in the Tokyo Bay basin

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Authors: Yasuyuki Zushi, Shunji Hashimoto, Kiyoshi Tanabe


In this study, we developed an approach for sequential nontarget and target screening for the rapid and efficient analysis of multiple samples as an environmental monitoring using a comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatograph coupled to a high resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometer (GC × GC-HRTOFMS). A key feature of the approach was the construction of an accurate mass spectral database learned from the sample via nontarget screening. To enhance the detection power in the nontarget screening, a global spectral deconvolution procedure based on non-negative matrix factorization was applied. The approach was applied to the monitoring of rivers in the Tokyo Bay basin. The majority of the compounds detected by the nontarget screening were alkyl chain-based compounds (55%). In the quantitative target screening based on the output from the nontarget screening, particularly high levels of organophosphorus flame retardants (median concentrations of 31, 116 and 141 ng l−1 for TDCPP, TCIPP and TBEP, respectively) were observed among the target compounds. Flame retardants used for household furniture and building materials were detected in river basins where buildings and arterial traffic were dominated. The developed GC × GC-HRTOFMS approach was efficient and effective for environmental monitoring and provided valuable new information on various aspects of monitoring in the context of environmental management.

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