New high-resolution mass spectrometric approach for the measurement of polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides in human serum

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2003 Aug 25;794(1):137-48. doi: 10.1016/s1570-0232(03)00451-3.


To increase our analytical throughput for measuring polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine (OC) pesticides without sacrificing data quality, we have developed and validated a combined PCB/OC pesticide gas chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS) analysis. In a single GC-HRMS analysis, both selected PCBs and OC pesticides are detected and quantified. Previously, this has been difficult, if not impossible, because of the major difference in masses of the most abundant electron-impact ions. However, we have identified slightly less abundant ions to monitor that allow us to successfully combine these analytes into a single analysis without sacrificing any analytical sensitivity or instrument reliability. Consequently, we have been able to double our analytical throughput by modification of mass spectrometric parameters alone. Our new methodology has been validated against our current GC-HRMS method, which entails using two separate injections, one for PCB analysis and one for OC pesticide analysis. The two methods differ by less than 4% overall, with no systematic bias. We used this method to analyze approximately 350 serum samples over a period of several months. We found that our new method was as reliable in automated, overnight runs as our current method.

MeSH terms

  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / blood*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Insecticides
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls