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The Aga lab is equipped with the necessary instruments to perform top-of-the-line analytical/environmental research.

Dionex UltiMate 3000 UHPLC with Thermo Q-Exactive Focus Orbitrap

The Orbitrap provides high resolution and mass accuracy for the determination of unknown compounds. Sample components are separated by UHPLC, and analytes are desolvated and ionized by an ESI source. Within the Orbitrap, ions pass through a single quadrupole, and into the Obritrap where packets of ions orbit around an electrode, and their frequency is recorded. The high-resolving power of the Orbitrap allows for the determination of the exact mass for each ion, permitting the determination of unknown compounds. Using exact mass, spectral database comparison, and commercial standards, unknowns can be proven with varying degrees of certainty. Both suspect screening and untargeted analyses are possible on the Orbitrap instrument.

Our group has used the Orbitrap for many projects including:                                               1. Suspect screening of pesticides in wastewater and surface water samples                           2. Metabolomics of plants treated with nanoparticles                                                      3. Suspect screening of pharmaceuticals in human urine and wastewater samples

Agilent 1100 HPLC with Agilent 6410 Mass Spectrometer and Thermo Finnigan Surveyor HPLC with TSQ Mass Spectrometer 

These instruments offer selectivity and sensitivity to LC/MS/MS analysis. After separation of sample components by HPLC, the analytes are desolvated and ionized by an ESI source. Triple quadrupole mass spectrometers consist of two mass filtering quadrupoles centered by a quadrupole that acts as a collision cell. As collisions occur with an inert gas, typically nitrogen or argon, the molecular ions become fragmented, which provides structural information. Fragments are characteristic to each analyte and provide enhanced specificity when identifying analytes.

Our group has used these instruments for many projects including:                                            1. The analysis of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in waste water, human urine, and vegetables                                                                                                                           2. The analysis of sulfonamides and tetracyclines in cow manure                                               3. The analysis of estrogens in chicken litter

Trace QC Ultra Gas Chromatograph with Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer  

The Thermo Scientific TSQ Quantum XLS offers maximum precision and sensitivity to gas chromatography (GC)/MS analysis. After separation of a sample into its components by GC, the components are transferred to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer through an electron ionization (EI) or chemical ionization (CI) source. Furthermore, this instrument contains an electron capture detector (ECD), which is beneficial for detecting halogenated compounds in addition to MS.

Our group has used the TSQ to replicate the capabilities of much more expensive instrumentation. The following projects have benefitted recently:                                             1. Studies of the fate of PBDEs in human liver extracts, blood, serum, and breast milk           2. Studies of estrogens in cow manure                                                                                     3. Analysis of pesticides in birds

Inductively Coupled Plasma Source with Single Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is an analytical technique that enables the determination of trace elements. It is known for its wide elemental coverage, low detection limits, fast analysis times, wide analytical working range, and isotopic capabilities.  The ICP/MS is equipped with an advanced H2/He collision cell technology (CCT). This instrument enables the analysis of a wide range of elements, with detection limits ranging from ppt to ppb concentrations. With the inclusion of CCT, elements that are traditionally difficult to analyze (i.e., Mg, K, Ca, Fe, As, Se, S, etc.) can be detected at very low levels by removal of gas-based and matrix-based polyatomic interferences through collisional retardation / differential transmission (kinetic energy discrimination). Our ICP-MS is also equipped with a 213 nm laser ablation system and an HPLC system that can be coupled with the ICP-MS for applications requiring online metal speciation and separation. This has aided several analysis:                                                 1. The analysis of magnesium in rat brain and ear                                                                   2. The analysis of maize and arabidopsis that have been exposed to silver nanoparticles