Superfund Research Program
Analytical Chemistry Core
The Analytical Chemistry Core (ACC) provides analytical chemistry support for the projects within the Duke Superfund Research Center. Specifically, the ACC has developed routine methods for measurement of organic and inorganic contaminants in environmental and biological samples, and these methods are applied to examine uptake and elimination in biological systems as well as degradation in engineered treatment scenarios. Over the past year, work has focused on work within the Engineering the Physico-Chemical Environment to Enhance the Bioremediation of Developmental Toxicants in Sediment Fungal-Bacterial Biofilms Project assessing polycyclid aromatric hydrocarbon (PAH) concentrations and degradation in soil and sediments through microbial processes and nanoparticle-enabled treatment, with over 350 samples analyzed, and several requests for analysis scheduled in 2020. The ACC has worked with several students to expand the routine methods available, including the addition of passive samplers, to assess bioavailable concentrations of PAHs, root extractions, and large volume extractions for enhancing sensitivity of organic contaminant analysis in water and wastewater. With the recent addition of new instrumentation, including an Orbitrap Fusion Lumos high resolution mass spectrometer and a GC-QTOF mass spectrometer, the development of new, non-targeted analysis methods to assess environmental and human exposure to organic pollutants and for identifying new transformation products of Superfund-relevant pollutants in environmental samples has begun. Non-targeted analysis is a very powerful tool that allows for characterization of chemical identity of complex mixtures, such as consumer products or household foam, without the need for pre-determined analytes.