Performance of a Novel High Throughput Method for the Determination of VX in Drinking Water Samples

Emergency Response Branch, Division of Laboratory Sciences, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 4770 Buford Highway, MS F44, Chamblee, Georgia 30341, United States.
Analytical Chemistry (Impact Factor: 5.64). 03/2013; 85(5):2611-6. DOI: 10.1021/ac3036102
Source: PubMed


VX (O-ethyl-S-(2-diisopropylaminoethyl) methylphosphonothioate) is a highly toxic organophosphorus nerve agent, and even low levels of contamination in water can be harmful. Measurement of low concentrations of VX in aqueous matrixes is possible using an immunomagnetic scavenging technique and detection using liquid chromatography/tandem-mass spectrometry. Performance of the method was characterized in high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-grade water preserved with sodium omadine, an antimicrobial agent, and sodium thiosulfate, a dechlorinating agent, over eight analytical batches with quality control samples analyzed over 10 days. The minimum reportable level was 25 ng/L with a linear dynamic range up to 4.0 μg/L. The mean accuracies for two quality control samples containing VX at concentrations of 0.250 and 2.00 μg/L were 102 ± 3% and 103 ± 6%, respectively. The stability of VX was determined in five tap water samples representing a range of water quality parameters and disinfection practices over a 91 day period. In preserved tap water samples, VX recovery was between 81 and 92% of the fortified amount, 2.0 μg/L, when analyzed immediately after preparation. Recovery of VX decreased to between 31 and 45% of the fortified amount after 91 days, indicating hydrolysis of VX. However, the preservatives minimized the hydrolysis rate to close to the theoretical limit. The ability to detect low concentrations of VX in preserved tap water 91 days after spiking suggests applicability of this method for determining water contamination with VX and utility during environmental remediation.

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