Nontargeted Discovery of Novel Contaminants in the Great Lakes Region: A Comparison of Fish Fillets and Fish Consumers

By Sadjad Fakouri Baygi, Sujan Fernando, Philip K Hopke, Thomas M Holsen, and Bernard S Crimmins
Environ Sci Technol
March 10, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c08507

Sport fish fillets and human sera (fish consumers) were collected in the Lake Superior and Lake Michigan basin and screened for novel contaminants using the isotopic profile deconvoluted chromatogram (IPDC) algorithm. The IPDC algorithm was extended beyond traditional Cl/Br filters to detect additional potential bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) such as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The IPDC algorithm screened for approximately 13.5 million theoretical molecular formulas. Additional algorithm modules were developed to detect data independent MS/MS fragmentation products and a retention time index calculator using a series of C-labeled perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (C-PFCAs). Ten potential compound classes were isolated including six untargeted PFAS, six homologue groups of polyfluorinated carboxylic acids, polyfluorinated telomer alcohols (PoFTOHs), two hydroxylated polychlorobiphenyls, pesticides, herbicides, antifungals, pharmaceuticals, artificial sweeteners, and personal care products with minimal postprocessing efforts. The algorithm isolated 48 ubiquitous PoFTOHs in both fish fillet and serum of fish consumers suggesting a region wide distribution of this class of compounds. The 3, 4, and 7 fluorine substituted PoFTOH were the most abundant congeners in both biological matrices.

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