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A fast method for monitoring of organic explosives in soil: a gas temperature gradient approach in LC–APCI/MS/MS

Harun ┼×ener, Beril Anilanmert, and Salih Cengiz

Istanbul Police Headquarters, Istanbul, Turkey



Abstract: A novel, fast liquid chromatography atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry (LC–APCI–MS/MS) screening method was developed to determine the trace amounts of TNT (trinitrotoluene), RDX (1,3,5-trinitroperhydro-1,3,5-triazine), HMX (cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramine), PETN (pentaerythritoltetranitrate), TETRYL (2,4,6-trinitrophenyl-N-methylnitramine), picric acid (2,4,6 trinitrophenol), 2,6-DNT (2,6-dinitrotoluene), and TMETN (trimethylolethane-trinitrate) which contaminate the soil after explosion. A gradient of 2.00 mM ammonium nitrate aqueous solution-methanol mobile system, C18 column, and atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) (−) ionization mode was used after a single-step solid–liquid extraction procedure from soil matrix. Phenytoin was used as the internal standard. As an extraordinary application, gas temperature gradient in an APCI ionization was used. Analytes were selectively eluted from the system within 10 min. Average recovery obtained from the soil was between 93.01 and 104.20% at 250.0, 500.0, and 1000.0 ngg−1 concentration levels. Limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) values obtained from the analysis of the soil samples including explosive mix were between 8.9–161.2 and 13.2–241.5 ngg−1, respectively.

Keywords: LC–APCI–MS–MS; Explosive screening in soil; Nitramine; Nitroaromatic; Nitrate ester; TMETN

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-016-0042-2


Chemical Papers 71 (5) 971–979 (2017)

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