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Fields & Applications Mass Spectrometry, Pharma & Biopharma

High-Throughput Formaldehyde Analysis in Air Using Direct Mass Spectrometry

sponsored by Syft Technologies

The toxicity, carcinogenicity and ubiquity of formaldehyde necessitates detection at trace levels across diverse applications, including pharmaceutical testing, automotive emissions, and ambient and indoor air quality. Formaldehyde is, however, difficult to analyse to trace levels using gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC); GC and LC usually require sampling of large gas volumes to achieve low detection limits, followed by derivatization to enable analysis of this highly polar, reactive compound.

SIFT-MS revolutionizes formaldehyde sampling and analysis by applying very soft chemical ionisation. SIFT-MS eliminates chromatography and directly analyses formaldehyde in air to sub-part-per-billion concentrations (ppbv; by volume) within seconds, from only a few millilitres of air. This yields very high sample throughputs in the laboratory, and enables continuous monitoring – with a time resolution of a few seconds – in process applications.

The formaldehyde data shown here were obtained using a Syft Technologies Voice200ultra SIFT-MS instrument, integrated with a GERSTEL Multipurpose Sampler (MPS; GERSTEL, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany). Sampling from Tedlar gas sample bags (SKC, Eighty-Four, PA, USA) was achieved using the GERSTEL sample bag analysis accessory.

Figure 1. SIFT-MS linearity for formaldehyde analysis across the ppbv to ppmv range.
Figure 2. Rapid, replicate analyses of formaldehyde direct from a Tedlar sample bag using automated SIFT-MS.

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About the Authors

Mark J. Perkins

Mark J. Perkins, Anatune Limited.


Vaughan S. Langford

Vaughan S. Langford, Syft Technologies Limited.

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