Biomonitoring of perfluorinated compounds in a drop of blood

Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Jun 2;49(11):6808-14. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01442. Epub 2015 May 22.


Biomonitoring of pollutants and their metabolites and derivatives using biofluids provides new opportunities for spatiotemporal assessment of human risks to environmental exposures. Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have been used widely in industry and pose significant environmental concerns due to their stability and bioaccumulation in humans and animals. However, current methods for extraction and measurement of PFCs require relatively large volumes (over one hundred microliters) of blood samples, and therefore, are not suitable for frequent blood sampling and longitudinal biomonitoring of PFCs. We have developed a new microassay, enabled by our silicon microfluidic chip platform, for analyzing PFCs in small volumes (less than five microliters) of blood. Our assay integrates on-chip solid-phase extraction (SPE) with online nanoflow liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (nanoLC-ESI-MS) detection. We demonstrated high sample recovery, excellent interday and intraday accuracy and precision, and a limit of detection down to 50 femtogram of PFCs, in one microliter of human plasma. We validated our assay performance using pooled human plasma and NIST SRM 1950 samples. Our microfluidic chip-based assay may enable frequent longitudinal biomonitoring of PFCs and other environmental toxins using a finger prick of blood, thereby providing new insights into their bioaccumulation, bioavailability, and toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Microfluidics
  • Nanotechnology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Solid Phase Extraction
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization


  • Fluorocarbons