Novel analytical methodologies for the monitoring of traditional and non-traditional pollutants in different environmental compartments of South Florida

Cesar E Ramirez, Florida International University


Routine monitoring of environmental pollution demands simplicity and speed without sacrificing sensitivity or accuracy. The development and application of sensitive, fast and easy to implement analytical methodologies for detecting emerging and traditional water and airborne contaminants in South Florida is presented. A novel method was developed for quantification of the herbicide glyphosate based on lyophilization followed by derivatization and simultaneous detection by fluorescence and mass spectrometry. Samples were analyzed from water canals that will hydrate estuarine wetlands of Biscayne National Park, detecting inputs of glyphosate from both aquatic usage and agricultural runoff from farms. A second study describes a set of fast, automated LC-MS/MS protocols for the analysis of dioctyl sulfosuccinate (DOSS) and 2-butoxyethanol, two components of Corexit®. Around 1.8 million gallons of those dispersant formulations were used in the response efforts for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. The methods presented here allow the trace-level detection of these compounds in seawater, crude oil and commercial dispersants formulations. In addition, two methodologies were developed for the analysis of well-known pollutants, namely Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and airborne particulate matter (APM). PAHs are ubiquitous environmental contaminants and some are potent carcinogens. Traditional GC-MS analysis is labor-intensive and consumes large amounts of toxic solvents. My study provides an alternative automated SPE-LC-APPI-MS/MS analysis with minimal sample preparation and a lower solvent consumption. The system can inject, extract, clean, separate and detect 28 PAHs and 15 families of alkylated PAHs in 28 minutes. The methodology was tested with environmental samples from Miami. Airborne Particulate Matter is a mixture of particles of chemical and biological origin. Assessment of its elemental composition is critical for the protection of sensitive ecosystems and public health. The APM collected from Port Everglades between 2005 and 2010 was analyzed by ICP-MS after acid digestion of filters. The most abundant elements were Fe and Al, followed by Cu, V and Zn. Enrichment factors show that hazardous elements (Cd, Pb, As, Co, Ni and Cr) are introduced by anthropogenic activities. Data suggest that the major sources of APM were an electricity plant, road dust, industrial emissions and marine vessels.

Subject Area

Environmental Health|Analytical chemistry

Recommended Citation

Ramirez, Cesar E, "Novel analytical methodologies for the monitoring of traditional and non-traditional pollutants in different environmental compartments of South Florida" (2013). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3608774.