Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Chemical Warfare Agents and their Degradation Products in Soil and Synthetic Samples


  1. D'Agostino, P.A.
  2. Hancock, J.R.
  3. Chenier, C.L.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
A packed capillary liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS) method was developed for the identification of chemical warfare agents, their degradation products and related compounds in synthetic tabun samples and in soil samples collected from a former mustard storage site. A number of organophosphorus and organosulfur compounds that had not been previously characterized were identified, based on acquired high-resolution ESI-MS data. At lower sampling cone voltages, the ESI mass spectra were dominated by protonated, sodiated and protonated acetonitrile adducts and/or their dimers that could be used to confirm the molecular mass of each compound. Structural information was obtained by inducing product ion formation in the ESI interface at higher sampling cone voltages. Representative ESI-MS mass spectra for previously uncharacterized compounds were incorporated into a database as part of an on-going effort in chemical warfare agent detection and identification. The same samples were also analyzed by capillary column gas chromatography (GC)-MS in order to compare an established method with LC-ESI-MS for chemical warfare agent identification. Analysis times and full-scanning sensitivities were similar for both methods, with differences being associated with sample matrix, ease of ionization and compound volatility.
Electrospray mass spectrometry;LC/ESI/MS;GC/MS;Chemical identification;Liquid chromatography;Tabun
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-SL-2003-057 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
01 Jan 2004
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
European Journal of Mass Spectrometry, vol 9, 2003, p 609-618
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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