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Doctoral thesis2021Open access

Hidden in the Water : Development of screening strategies to identify new organic contaminants of emerging concern

Menger, Frank


Man-made chemicals enable and sustain our modern quality of life. These chemicals can, however, become contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). There is currently a considerable lag time between release of chemicals to the environment and their identification as CECs. In fact, many CECs may already be present in the environment but have not been identified. High-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) is currently the technique of choice to identify new CECs. 

In this thesis, efforts were made to reduce the lag time between release and detection by developing new screening strategies for identification of CECs using HRMS. In an initial critical review of the literature on existing HRMS-based water screening strategies, knowledge gaps on sampling approaches, data processing and prioritisation strategies were identified. Liquid chromatography-HRMS was then used to (tentatively) identify different potential CECs in the Swedish aquatic environment, particularly organohalogen compounds and pesticide transformation products in different time-integrated water samples and bioaccumulating compounds in zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha). Structural information on e.g. characteristic isotopic profiles and structural relation to known pollutants, combined with new forms of metadata and ion mobility separation, proved to be powerful tools for identification of new potential CECs.

The new strategies for identification of novel CECs presented in this thesis improve our understanding of CECs in the aquatic environment.


suspect screening; non-target screening; polar organic chemical integrative sampler (POCIS); time-integrating microflow in-line extraction (TIMFIE) sampler; ion mobility spectrometry; quadrupole-time-of-flight (QToF)

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2021, number: 2021:33
ISBN: 978-91-7760-744-1, eISBN: 978-91-7760-745-8
Publisher: Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Analytical Chemistry

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