Use of reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection for complete separation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene metabolites and EPA Method 8330 explosives: Influence of temperature and an ion-pair reagent
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Explosives such as 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine (HMX), and hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) are widely distributed environmental contaminants. Complete chromatographic separation is necessary in order to accurately determine and quantify explosives and their degradation products in environmental samples and in (bio)transformation studies. The present study describes a RP-HPLC method with diode array detection using a LC-8 guard column, a Supelcosil LC-8 chromatographic column, and a gradient elution system. This gradient method is capable of baseline separating the most commonly observed explosives and TNT transformation metabolites including 2,4,6-triaminotoluene (TAT) in a single run. The TNT metabolites separated were 2-hydroxylamino-4,6-dinitrotoluene, 4-hydroxylamino-2,6-dinitrotoluene, 2,4-dihydroxylamino-6-nitrotoluene, 4,4',6,6'-tetranitro-2,2'-azoxytoluene, 2,2',6,6'-tetranitro-4,4'-azoxytoluene, 4,4',6,6'-tetranitro-2,2'-azotoluene, 2,2',6,6'-tetranitro-4,4'-azotoluene, 2-amino-4,6-dinitrotoluene, 4-amino-2,6-dinitrotoluene, 2,6-diamino-4-nitrotoluene, 2,4-diamino-6-nitrotoluene, and TAT. The same gradient method at a different column temperature can also be used to baseline separate the explosives targeted in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 8330 with approximately 22% reduction in total run time and 48% decrease in solvent consumption compared to previously published methods. Good separation was also obtained when all TNT metabolites and EPA Method 8330 compounds (a total of 23 compounds) were analyzed together; only 2,6-DANT and HMX co-eluted in this case. The influence of temperature (35B55 C) and the use of an ion-pair reagent on the chromatographic resolution and retention were investigated. Temperature was identified as the key parameter for optimal baseline separation. Increased temperature resulted in shorter retention times and better peak resolution especially for the aminoaromatics investigated. The use of an ion-pair reagent (octanesulfonic acid) generally resulted in longer retention times for compounds containing amine functional groups, more baseline noise, and decreased peak resolution.
Borch T, Gerlach R, "Use of reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection for complete separation of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene metabolites and EPA Method 8330 explosives: Influence of temperature and an ion-pair reagent," J Chromotography A, 2004 1022:83-94