The development of new analytical systems and the improvement of the existing ones to obtain high-resolution measurements of chemical markers in samples from ice cores, is one of the main challenges the paleoclimatic scientific community is facing. Different chemical species can be used as markers for tracking emission sources or specific environmental processes. Although some markers, such as methane sulfonic acid (a proxy of marine productivity), are commonly used, there is a lack of data on other organic tracers in ice cores, making their continuous analysis analytically challenging. Here, we present an innovative combination of fast liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (FLC-MS/MS) to continuously determine organic markers in ice cores. After specific optimization, this approach was applied to the quantification of vanillic and syringic acids, two specific markers for biomass burning. Using the validated method, detection limits of 3.6 and 4.6 pg mL-1for vanillic and syringic acids, respectively, were achieved. Thanks to the coupling of FLC-MS/MS with the continuous flow analytical system, we obtained one measurement every 30 s, which corresponds to a sampling resolution of a sample every 1.5 cm with a melting rate of 3.0 cm min-1. To check the robustness of the method, we analyzed two parallel sticks of an alpine ice core over more than 5 h. Vanillic acid was found with concentrations in the range of picograms per milliliter, suggesting the combustion of coniferous trees, which are found throughout the Italian Alps.

Fast Liquid Chromatography Coupled with Tandem Mass Spectrometry for the Analysis of Vanillic and Syringic Acids in Ice Cores

Barbaro E.;Feltracco M.
;
Spagnesi A.;Dallo F.;Gabrieli J.;Zannoni D.;Cairns W. R. L.;Gambaro A.;Barbante C.
2022

Abstract

The development of new analytical systems and the improvement of the existing ones to obtain high-resolution measurements of chemical markers in samples from ice cores, is one of the main challenges the paleoclimatic scientific community is facing. Different chemical species can be used as markers for tracking emission sources or specific environmental processes. Although some markers, such as methane sulfonic acid (a proxy of marine productivity), are commonly used, there is a lack of data on other organic tracers in ice cores, making their continuous analysis analytically challenging. Here, we present an innovative combination of fast liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (FLC-MS/MS) to continuously determine organic markers in ice cores. After specific optimization, this approach was applied to the quantification of vanillic and syringic acids, two specific markers for biomass burning. Using the validated method, detection limits of 3.6 and 4.6 pg mL-1for vanillic and syringic acids, respectively, were achieved. Thanks to the coupling of FLC-MS/MS with the continuous flow analytical system, we obtained one measurement every 30 s, which corresponds to a sampling resolution of a sample every 1.5 cm with a melting rate of 3.0 cm min-1. To check the robustness of the method, we analyzed two parallel sticks of an alpine ice core over more than 5 h. Vanillic acid was found with concentrations in the range of picograms per milliliter, suggesting the combustion of coniferous trees, which are found throughout the Italian Alps.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3758106
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