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Environ Sci Technol. 2010 Nov 15;44(22):8429-34. doi: 10.1021/es1024228.

Natural chlorate in the environment: application of a new IC-ESI/MS/MS method with a Cl¹⁸O₃-internal standard.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas 79409-1023, USA.


A new ion chromatography electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (IC-ESI/MS/MS) method has been developed for quantification and confirmation of chlorate (ClO₃⁻) in environmental samples. The method involves the electrochemical generation of isotopically labeled chlorate internal standard (Cl¹⁸O₃⁻) using ¹⁸O water (H₂¹⁸O) he standard was added to all samples prior to analysis thereby minimizing the matrix effects that are associated with common ions without the need for expensive sample pretreatments. The method detection limit (MDL) for ClO₃⁻ was 2 ng L⁻¹ for a 1 mL volume sample injection. The proposed method was successfully applied to analyze ClO₃⁻ in difficult environmental samples including soil and plant leachates. The IC-ESI/MS/MS method described here was also compared to established EPA method 317.0 for ClO₃⁻ analysis. Samples collected from a variety of environments previously shown to contain natural perchlorate (ClO₄⁻) occurrence were analyzed using the proposed method and ClO₃⁻ was found to co-occur with ClO₄⁻ at concentrations ranging from < 2 ng L⁻¹ in precipitation from Texas and Puerto Rico to >500 mg kg⁻¹ in caliche salt deposits from the Atacama Desert in Chile. Relatively low concentrations of ClO₃⁻ in some natural groundwater samples (0.1 µg L⁻¹) analyzed in this work may indicate lower stability when compared to ClO₄⁻ in the subsurface. The high concentrations ClO₃⁻ in caliches and soils (3-6 orders of magnitude greater) as compared to precipitation samples indicate that ClO₃⁻, like ClO₄⁻, may be atmospherically produced and deposited, then concentrated in dry soils, and is possibly a minor component in the biogeochemical cycle of chlorine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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