A new atmospheric pressure gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (APGC-MS/MS) was developed to simultaneously separate, identify and quantify 18 nitro-polyaromatic hydrocarbons (NPAHs) in air fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Compared with traditional negative chemical ionization (NCI) or electron impact ionization (EI)-MS/MS methods, APGC-MS/MS equipped with an atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) source provided better sensitivity and selectivity for NPAHs analysis in PM2.5.18 NPAHs were completely separated, and satisfactory linear response (R2 > 0.99), low instrumental detection limits (0.20–2.18 pg mL−1) and method detection limits (0.001–0.015 pg m−3) were achieved. Due to the reliable performance of the instrument, only minimal sample pretreatment is needed. It ensured the satisfactory method recovery (70%–120%) and qualified repeatability (RSD: 1.1%–17.2%), which met the requirement of trace analysis of NAPHs in the real environmental PM2.5. Using the developed method, the actual PM2.5 samples collected from Taiyuan, China in both summer and winter were analyzed, and 17 NPAHs but 2-nitrofluorene were detected and quantified. According to the obtained NAPH concentration results, the generation mechanism of NPAHs in PM2.5 and the effects on NPAHs formation caused by some ambient air pollutants were preliminarily discussed: secondary photochemical reaction might be the dominant source of NPAHs in PM2.5 collected from Taiyuan in both summer and winter; ambient air pollutants (NO2, SO2, CO) had more contribution on the NPAHs secondary formation of PM2.5 in winter.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Environmental Engineering
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Atmospheric pressure gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry
- Nitro-polyaromatic hydrocarbons
- Source apportionment