Targeted and Nontargeted Detection and Characterization of Trace Organic Chemicals in Human Serum and Plasma Using QuEChERS Extraction

Katherine E. Manz, Kyle Yamada, Lukas Scheidl, Michele A. La Merrill, Lars Lind, Kurt D. Pennell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Humans are exposed to a broad range of organic chemicals. Although targeted gas chromatography mass spectrometry techniques are used to quantify a limited number of persistent organic pollutants and trace organic contaminants in biological samples, nontargeted, high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) methods assess the human exposome more extensively. We present a QuEChERS extraction for targeted and nontargeted analysis of trace organic contaminants using HRMS and compare this method to a traditional, cartridge-based solid-phase extraction (SPE). Following validation using reference and spiked serum samples, the method was applied to plasma samples (n = 75) from the Prospective investigation of Obesity, Energy, and Metabolism (POEM) study. We quantified 44 analytes using targeted analysis and 6247 peaks were detected using the nontargeted approach. Over 90% of targeted analytes were at least 90% recovered using the QuEChERS method in spiked serum samples. In nontargeted analysis, 84% of the peaks were above the method detection limit with area counts up to 3.0 × 105 times greater using the QuEChERS method. Of the targeted compounds, 88% were also identified in the nontargeted analysis. We categorized the 4212 chemicals assigned an identity in using EPA's CompTox Dashboard and 1076 chemicals were found in at least one list. The category with the highest number of chemicals was "androgen or estrogen receptor activity." The findings demonstrate that a QuEChERS technique is suitable for both targeted and nontargeted analysis of trace organic contaminants in biological samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-88
Number of pages12
JournalToxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology
Volume185
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 28 2021

Keywords

  • exposome
  • GC-Orbitrap
  • nontargeted analysis
  • persistent organic pollutants
  • QuEChERS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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