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Highlights of Environmental & Food Mass Spectrometry Meeting 2018

Martin Perkins

13th February 2018

Agilent Technologies, Dispersive Liquid-Liquid Micro Extraction, DLLME, Environmental, Food, GC-Triple Quad, Liquid-Liquid Extraction, Mass Spectrometry, Meeting, MS, Treatment Process, Twickenham, Water,


On 27th February to the 1st March, the Agilent Environmental and Food MS Seminar is being held at Twickenham.

The agenda has been released, and in this blog, I want to share with you my thoughts on, what I think, are the highlights of the program.

I know from speaking to our friends at Agilent that, this year, registrations will be at a record high. There are still places available so, if you are undecided, maybe reading this may help convince you!

John Quick from ALS Environmental is back for another talk, following from the success of his presentation last year in Bristol.  This time he is giving a talk entitled ‘Exploring the Advantages of Automated Preparation and High Sensitivity GC/MS for SVOC and Pesticide Analysis in Heavy Environmental Matrices’.

John has continued with the work he spoke about at last year’s meeting and has made further improvements to automated liquid-liquid extraction by adopting dispersive liquid-liquid micro extraction (DLLME). Anatune has been working together with John on this and the data I have seen looks absolutely awesome.  I’ll say no more as I don’t want to steal John’s thunder. I expect his talk to be well attended.

I own up to being biased, but joint top of my list is a workshop, entitled Online Monitoring in Water Treatment Plants: Development and Planning to Meet Future Requirements’.  This will be presented by both Alice Elder from Affinity Water and my good self.

We will look back over the last 18 months, since an automated GC-Triple Quadrupole MS was installed into a Water Treatment Works to monitor for metaldehyde throughout the plant.  We will detail how this concept became a reality, and now generates lab grade data, day-in, day-out.  Alice will explain how the success of this installation forms part of the control philosophy for a new pesticide treatment processes about to be installed on the site.  It’s a great chance to see how far things have progressed since Debbie Loftus-Holden’s presentation at the meeting last year.

Next up is Ally Lewis from the University of York with a presentation entitled ‘Taking the Long View: Measuring Pollutants over Decades in Background Air’.

Ally and his team are experts in this area, and I am looking forward to what will definitely be a thought-provoking and interesting presentation.  The way they deal with the issues of long term reliability and stability of instruments and how they obtain clean blanks are of significance to environmental labs in the broader sense.

Jes Vollersten, of Aalborg University, Denmark, is presenting a talk on ‘The Characterisation and Quantitation of Micro-Plastics in Drinking Water’.

There will be a lot of interest in this item.  The subject of micro-plastic contamination is very topical and represents an emerging new contaminant.  Not only being able to characterise these new pollutants, but also quantify them is of great importance.  I’m interested to find out and learn how Jes is doing this.

Bert Van Bavel from the Norwegian Institute of Water Research, Norway, is giving a presentation entitled ‘Twenty-Five Years of Analysis of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) regulated by the Stockholm Convention’.

This one will show how far we have come over the last 25 years of POPs analysis.  Instruments are much more sensitive now and there are so many new analytical tools to throw at these compounds now, making it much easier to analyse, monitor and quantify them.

Surface Water Screening by All Ion Fragmentation – A Useful Tool for Emerging Pollutant Discovery’, by Martina Werneburg, Tubingen University, Germany, is sure to get people’s attention.  Non-targeted screening is becoming more important, I won’t be missing this one.

This is my personal pick and there is an awful lot of other great content; you will find a lot of value in the workshops in general, as these are good learning opportunities.  This year the workshops also include:

  • Optimising GC and LC/MS workflows
  • Developments in MassHunter Quant
  • Profiling tips and tricks

And much more besides.  You will be spoilt for choice!

This is a great opportunity to renew acquaintances and network.  The social program is as good as ever and if you are not registered yet, I suggest you do so ASAP.

See you all there!