Chloride interference in the determination of bromate in drinking water by reagent free ion chromatography with mass spectrometry detection.
ABSTRACT Bromate, a well known by-product of the ozonation of drinking water, has been included among the substances which have to be monitored in the drinking water according to the last EC Directive 251/98 on potable water with a regulated limit of 10 microg l(-1). The need of performing routine analysis at this limit is a driving force for the developing of new simple and sensitive methods of detection, which should be also able to overcome the effect of matrix composition. This work explored the use of mass spectrometry detection with electrospray ionisation hyphenated to a reagent free ion chromatograph with hydroxide gradient elution for the determination of bromate in drinking water. The use of a high capacity hydroxide selective column operated in gradient mode allowed to avoid the interference by carbonate peak, which moved to longer retention times. The effect of increasing chloride concentrations from 0 to 250 mg l(-1), which is the guideline limit for drinking water in Directive 251/98/EC, was to decrease absolute mass spectrometric response and chromatographic efficiency and, on the consequence, to increase the effective detection limits. The effect of the chloride concentration on the detection of bromate is discussed.