Determination of organic phosphorus in soil samples by capillary zone electrophoresis coupled to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Analytisk kemi

Abstract: Chemical substances that are either produced by nature or by humankind have a consequence on the environment when they are accumulated to a great extent. One of nature’s major problem is that of the eutrophication of surface waters, which is caused by inorganic and organic phosphorus compounds and, in particular, from a group known as Inositol Phosphates. There are six different forms of these inositols and are commonly found in soil and sediment samples. The conducted project was aimed to develop an analytical method that could efficiently analyze and separate all six with repeatable results. As such, soil samples were collected two times from two forest locations and two crop field locations. The first time the soil samples were left overnight to dry in a drying oven while on the second time, the samples left to dry at room temperature. When the samples were considered dry enough, they processed to reach grain size and extracted with a mixture of NaOH and Titriplex® III. The extracted soil samples, the standard solutions containing inositols, and the spiked extracted soil samples with inositol solution were all analyzed with an instrumental combination of a Capillary Electrophoresis instrument coupled manually to an Electrospray mass spectrometer, where the first was operated at reversed mode and the second at negative mode. To achieve the best feasible separation, several background electrolyte solutions were created along with a large number of sheath liquids regulated by an LC pump, two Capillary Electrophoresis methods, and twenty-five distinct MS methods, all tested through extensive screening to obtain the best possible combination of parameters. Out of the obtained results from the runs, four background electrolyte solutions, two MS methods, one sheath liquid controlled by one specific flow rate, and one Capillary Electrophoresis method exhibited promising potentials with a satisfying outcome. However, the intense pulsation of the spray cone observed for many of the runs, the manual protrusion of the Capillary Electrophoresis fused silica capillary, and some random errors, the repeatability of the method is called into question.

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