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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Techniques and methods for the determination of haloacetic acids in potable water.

Haloethanoic (haloacetic) acids (HAAs) are formed as disinfection byproducts (DBPs) during the chlorination of natural water to make it fit for consumption. Sundry analytical techniques have been applied in order to determine the concentrations of the HAAs in potable water supplies: gas chromatography (GC-MS, GC- ECD); capillary electrophoresis (CE); liquid chromatography (LC), including ion chromatography (IC); and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). Detection limits required to analyze potable water samples can be regularly achieved only by GC- ECD and ESI-MS. Without improvements in preconcentration or detector sensitivity, CE and LC will not find application to potable water supplies. The predominant GC- ECD methods use either diazomethane or acidified methanol to esterify (methylate) the carboxylic acid moiety. For HAA5 analytes, regulated under the EPA's Stage 1 DBP Rule, diazomethane is satisfactory. For HAA9 data gathered under the Information Collection Rule, acidified methanol outperforms diazomethane, which suffers from photo-promoted side reactions, especially for the brominated trihaloacetic acids. Although ESI-MS can meet sensitivity and selectivity requirements, limited instrumentation availability means this technique will not be widely used for the time being. However, ESI-MS can provide valuable confirmatory information when coupled with GC- ECD in a research setting.[1]


  1. Techniques and methods for the determination of haloacetic acids in potable water. Urbansky, E.T. Journal of environmental monitoring : JEM. (2000) [Pubmed]
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