Development of primary standards for mass spectrometry to increase accuracy in quantifying environmental contaminants

R. P. Oates, Michelle Mcmanus, Seenivasan Subbiah, David M. Klein, Robert Kobelski

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    1 Scopus citations


    Internal standards are essential in electrospray ionization liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (ESI-LC–MS) to correct for systematic error associated with ionization suppression and/or enhancement. A wide array of instrument setups and interfaces has created difficulty in comparing the quantitation of absolute analyte response across laboratories. This communication demonstrates the use of primary standards as operational qualification standards for LC–MS instruments and their comparison with commonly accepted internal standards. In monitoring the performance of internal standards for perfluorinated compounds, potassium hydrogen phthalate (KHP) presented lower inter-day variability in instrument response than a commonly accepted deuterated perfluorinated internal standard (d3-PFOS), with percent relative standard deviations less than or equal to 6%. The inter-day precision of KHP was greater than d3-PFOS over a 28-day monitoring of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), across concentrations ranging from 0 to 100 μg/L. The primary standard trometamol (Trizma) performed as well as known internal standards simeton and tris (2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP), with intra-day precision of Trizma response as low as 7% RSD on day 28. The inter-day precision of Trizma response was found to be greater than simeton and TCPP, across concentrations of neonicotinoids ranging from 1 to 100 μg/L. This study explores the potential of primary standards to be incorporated into LC–MS/MS methodology to improve the quantitative accuracy in environmental contaminant analysis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)134-137
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Chromatography A
    StatePublished - Jul 14 2017


    • Internal standards
    • Method development
    • Neonicotinoids
    • Perfluoro
    • Primary standards


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