Screening hydrolysis products of sulfur mustard agents by high-performance liquid chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry detection

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2009 Apr;393(8):1949-56. doi: 10.1007/s00216-009-2642-y. Epub 2009 Feb 12.


Sulfur mustard (HD), bis(2-chloroethyl)sulfide, is one of a class of mustard agents which are chemical warfare agents. The main chemical warfare hydrolysis degradation products of sulfur mustards are: thiodiglycol, bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)methane, 1,2-bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)ethane, 1,3-bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)propane, and 1,4-bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)butane. The aim of this study is to identify these five hydrolysis degradation products utilizing reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for element-specific sulfur detection using a collision/reaction cell and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry to confirm the identification. To date, this is the first study utilizing ICP-MS with (32)S element-specific detection for the analysis of vesicant chemical warfare agent degradation products.

MeSH terms

  • Butanes / analysis*
  • Chemical Warfare Agents / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Hydrolysis
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Methane / analogs & derivatives*
  • Methane / analysis
  • Mustard Gas / analysis*
  • Propane / analogs & derivatives*
  • Propane / analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / analysis*
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / chemistry*


  • 1,3-bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)propane
  • 1,4-bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)butane
  • Butanes
  • Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)methane
  • 2,2'-thiodiethanol
  • Methane
  • Propane
  • Mustard Gas