An electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) system with an online dual-loop cleanup device was developed for simultaneous quantitation of the urinary benzene exposure biomarkers trans,trans-muconic acid (ttMA) and S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA). The cleanup device was constructed from an autosampler, two electrically operated two-position switching valves, a reversed-phase C18 trap cartridge, a 200-μL loop, and two solvent-delivery pumps. The device was interfaced directly with a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer and fully controlled by computer software and hardware. Because isotope dilution by introducing 13C-labeled ttMA and SPMA as internal standards was employed, the precision of the analytical system was high (for ttMA, intra- and inter-day CV values ranged from 3.82-4.53%; for SPMA, 2.13-7.06%). The calibration curves obtained using human urine spiked with ttMA were linear from 15.6-4000 μg/L (R = 0.9998) and SPMA at concentrations from 0.78-200 μg/L (R = 0.9993). The method detection limit (MDL) for SPMA was 0.23 μg/L. The MDL of ttMA could not be determined accurately because of unavailability of an appropriate blank urine matrix, but was estimated to be lower than 7.43 μg/L. Without tedious manual sample cleanup procedures the analytical system is fully automated and is therefore useful for high-throughput simultaneous determination of urinary ttMA and SPMA. The sample throughput is roughly 100 samples per day. With the selectivity and the sensitivity provided by MS/MS detection, the analytical system can be used for large-scale monitoring of environmental or occupational exposure of humans to benzene.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry