Investigators study Micro-pollutants in Local Preserved Nature Areas
A group of researchers, including Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research (ICBR) Senior Chemist Cecilia Silva-Sanchez, PhD, helped bridge the gap in knowledge on water pollution as a threat to biodiversity in protected areas.
Ignacio A. Rodriguez-Jorquera, PhD, Mark Strynar, PhD, Nancy D. Denslow, PhD, Gurpal S. Toor, PhD, and Silva-Sanchez, PhD, aimed to study the effects of urban micro-pollution on protected areas in concentrations considered detrimental to some local organisms.
The group collected water samples from six different sites in the Sweetwater branch stream located in the Paynes Prairie sub-basin in Gainesville, Fla.
Using high performance liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry, the group investigated the prevalence of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs), which globally present environmental concerns, in the Sweetwater branch stream.
After extraction, Silva-Sanchez, PhD, optimized the quantitative methods for detection using a classic multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) technique.
The researchers also used the 1100 Series Agilent HPLC to separate the compounds from the water and the 4000 Q Trap ABsciex to detect the compounds quantitatively; both instruments are housed in the ICBR Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Core.
“Every mass spectrometer and hplc is a little different,” Silva-Sanchez, PhD, said, “we tested methods from other papers and then developed our own assays to detect and identify compounds.”
PFAAs were detected along all the sampling sites and levels were consistent throughout the year.
In their publication, “Footprints of Urban Micro-Pollution in Protected Areas: Investigating the Longitudinal Distribution of Perfluoroalkyl Acids in Wildlife Preserves” the group suggested building a more comprehensive view of pollutants that do not necessarily occur at high levels. This could be a first step in reducing exposure of organisms to micro-pollution inside protected areas.
Silva-Sanchez, PhD, said this is the first paper she has published through the Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Core at ICBR using MRM technique for small molecules, but she has others in the works.
The ICBR Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry Core is leading a two-day workshop on liquid-chromatography and mass spectrometry April 28-29, 2016. Learn more about the opportunity here.
Read the paper: Footprints of Urban Micropollution in Protected Areas