Determination of Persistent Organic Pollutants in Fish Tissues by Accelerated Solvent Extraction and GC-MS/MS

Poster Presentation

Prepared by A. Kettle
Thermo Fisher Scientific, 1214 Oakmead Parkway, Sunnyvale, California, 94085, United States

Contact Information:; 916-747-8406


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) belong to a broad family of synthetic organic compounds known as halogenated hydrocarbons. The capacity of the halogenated hydrocarbons to bioaccumulate in fatty tissues and biomagnify up the food chain, in combination with their resistance to degradation and their toxicity, make this class of chemicals a serious threat to environmental and human health. Due to this potential toxicity, the extraction and analysis of halogentated hydrocarbons from matrices such as fish tissue is required by the U.S. EPA. Techniques such as Soxhlet and sonication are used for the extraction of halogenated hydrocarbons from environmental samples prior to their analytical determination. These techniques are, however, very labor intensive and suffer from high solvent consumption. Accelerated solvent extraction was developed to meet the new requirements of increased throughput and reduced solvent usage in sample preparation. With accelerated solvent extraction, extractions can be completed in very short periods of time and with minimal solvent as compared to conventional sample extraction techniques such as Soxhlet and sonication.

The work presented in the poster demonstrates workflow methods for halogenated hydracarbon extraction and analysis using GC-MS/MS from fish tissue. An analytical method was developed and applied to evaluate POP residues in tuna samples from different Food and Agricultural Organization areas. The method reported here is applicable for the determination of 29 halogenated hydrocarbons (6 PCBs, 16 OCPs, and 7 PBDEs). The concentration ranges are 1100 ng/g for PCBs, 0.510 ng/g for PBDEs, and 51000 ng/g for OCs. The method provedsto be simple and rapid, requiring small sample sizes and minimizing solvent consumption, due to use of accelerated solvent extraction with an in-line clean up step. Detection via MS/MS provides both quantitative information and confirmation of POP residues in tuna, confirming that the one-step accelerated solvent extraction method is a valid faster alternative to classic extraction methods because the analytical quality is comparable.