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Spectrometry, Ion Chromatography Used in H20 Analysis

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PALO ALTO, Calif. & HERISAU, Switzerland, April 14 -- Agilent Technologies Inc. and Metrohm AG announced today they have developed a high-sensitivity method that uses ion chromatography and mass spectrometry to detect perchlorate in surface and drinking water.

The method combines the Metrohm advanced ion chromatograph and Agilent's 1100 Series mass selective detector; this application was developed as part of a co-marketing agreement between the two companies. Perchlorate, an explosive propellant used in rocket fuel, is a widespread and potentially harmful contaminant that affects thyroid function.

Metrohm is a Herisau, Switzerland, provider of instruments and services for chemical ion analysis. The companies said the new method has several advantages over conventional perchlorate detection techniques, which rely on ion chromatography with conductivity detection.

Typical methods can measure perchlorate only at 1 to 5 ppb in drinking water, and the sensitivity decreases dramatically as sample complexity increases, the companies said. Interference by other ions in the sample can cause false positive and false negative results. In addition, reproducibility when analyzing heavy matrix samples such as river water or wastewater is poor.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a preliminary public health goal of 1 part per billion for perchlorate in water. Agilent and Metrohm said their method can detect perchlorate at levels below 100 parts per trillion. According to the EPA, there have been confirmed perchlorate releases in at least 20 US states. The California Department of Health Services reports that perchlorate has been detected in more than 350 water sources in California alone.

The method is described in Agilent's "The Analysis of Perchlorate by Ion Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry" application note, publication 5989-0816EN. To obtain a copy, or for more information, visit:
Apr 2004
mass spectrometry
An instrumental technique that utilizes the mass-to-charge ratio of charged particles as recorded from a mass spectrometer in order to determine the mass of a particle as well as the chemical makeup, or elemental ionic composition of a given sample or molecule.
Agilent TechnologiesICion chromatographymass spectrometryMetrohm AGMSNews & FeaturesperchlorateSensors & Detectorsspectroscopy

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