Analysis of perfluorinated chemicals in umbilical cord blood by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2011 Mar 15;879(9-10):641-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2011.01.037. Epub 2011 Feb 23.


Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) can cross the placental barrier and enter fetal circulation. This study aimed at developing a fast and sensitive ultra-high performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry method for the determination of twelve perfluorinated compounds in cord blood. Samples were processed with protein precipitation using formic acid and methanol, mixed with stable isotope labeled standard, followed by sonication and centrifugation, and were analyzed using a Waters ACQUITY UPLC coupled with a Waters Quattro Premier XE triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer. The instrument was operated in selected reaction monitoring (SRM) with negative electrospray ionization. Using BEH C(18) column (2.1 mm×50 mm, 1.7 μm) with 10-mM N-methylmorpholine/methanol gradient elution provided a fast chromatographic separation (5.5 min) and sharp peaks. Intra- and inter-day calibration bias was less than 7% and intra- and inter-day calibration of relative standard deviations were within 0.02-8.22% for all the analytes and concentrations. The recoveries of PFCs spiked into bovine serum ranged from 85 to 104% with relative standard deviations from 0.02 to 6.37%. The limits of quantitation (LOQs), defined as a signal-to-noise ratio of ten, ranged from 0.15 to 3.1 ng/mL for the twelve PFCs. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS), perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUA) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) were detected in up to 68% of umbilical cord plasma (n=444) in Taiwan Birth Panel Study and the health effect of these chemicals on children developmental deserves further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Cattle
  • Chemical Precipitation
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Blood Proteins
  • Fluorocarbons