Atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) was primarily applied as the ion source for liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC–MS). While APCI started to be used in gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC–MS) in 1970s, GC-APCI-MS was not widely used until recently. As a soft ionization technique, APCI provides highly diagnostic molecular ions, which is favored for the wide-scope screening. With the capability of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), GC-APCI-MS methods with high sensitivity and selectivity have been developed and applied in the analysis of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in environment and biological samples at trace levels. The present review introduces the history of the APCI source, with emphasis on mechanisms of ionization processes under the positive and negative ionization modes. Comparison between GC-APCI-MS and GC–MS with traditional electron ionization (EI) and chemical ionization (CI) are provided and discussed for selectivity, sensitivity and stability for the analyses of POPs. Previous studies found that the GC-APCI-MS methods provided limits of detection (LODs) around 10–100 times lower than other methods. An overview of GC-APCI-MS applications is given with the discussions on the advantages and drawbacks of various analytical methods applied for the analyses of POPs.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Analytical Chemistry
- Environmental Chemistry
- Atmospheric pressure chemical ionization
- Environmental pollutants
- Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
- Persistent organic pollutants