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Duke University

Superfund Research Program

Analytical Chemistry Core (ACC)

Project Leader: P. Lee Ferguson
Grant Number: P42ES010356
Funding Period: 2022-2027
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Project Summary (2022-2027)

The Duke University Superfund Research Center (DUSRC) examines the neurodevelopmental health impacts of early-life co-exposures to PAHs and metals. The overall function of the Analytical Chemistry Core (ACC) is to provide routine sample analysis of Superfund-relevant contaminants as well as biomarkers of exposure for Research Projects within the DUSRC. Furthermore, the ACC provides analytical expertise in identifying transformation products and/or metabolites of these Superfund contaminants using high-resolution mass spectrometry techniques.

The ACC has been an essential component of DUSRC over the past funding period, including the development of new analytical protocols for organic and inorganic compounds and the analysis of more than 2,000 samples for a wide variety of analytes (e.g., flame retardants, organophosphate pesticides, PAHs, and trace metals) in biological and environmental samples. Progress has been made in applying high- resolution mass spectrometry and other methods for non-targeted and effects-directed analysis of novel contaminants and transformation products of Superfund-relevant chemicals in environmental and biological media.

Here, the team continues and extends the activities of the ACC, with a focus on targeted analysis of PAHs, metals, neurotransmitter biomarkers in biological and environmental samples as well as non-targeted and transformation product analysis of PAH compounds. In addition, they coordinate cross-project collaborations through the analysis of complex environmental mixtures (e.g., leachates of house dust, PAH biodegradation products) that are generated by the Prenatal Exposures to PAHs and Metals in an Impacted Community: Assessing Neurodevelopment Impacts and Tracing Metal Sources and the Microencapsulation Delivery Vehicles for the Implementation of Precision Bioremediation at PAH-Contaminated Superfund Sites projects, and shared to the other three projects for evaluation of toxicity potential.

The ACC engages with the Research Experience and Training Coordination Core by leading training and consulting activities related to analytical chemistry. The ACC team also offers informal hands-on instruction for training on sample preparation methods and instrumental analyses. The team anticipates that these interactions will help guide researchers on experimental design for their research activities that require chemical analyses.

Finally, they leverage their expertise to develop analytical methods and perform analyses of other Superfund-relevant compounds that may emerge during the experimentation of complex mixtures and study at Superfund sites. These activities draw on their considerable success to date in developing, validating, and applying methods for contaminant analysis in environmental and biological samples.

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