American Chemical Society
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Formula Assignment Algorithm for Deuterium-Labeled Ultrahigh-Resolution Mass Spectrometry: Implications of the Formation Mechanism of Halogenated Disinfection Byproducts

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posted on 2022-01-12, 16:35 authored by Qing-Long Fu, Manabu Fujii, Akari Watanabe, Eunsang Kwon
Ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry (UHR-MS) coupled with isotope labeling has attracted significant attention in elucidating the mechanisms of the transformation of dissolved organic matter (DOM). Herein, we developed a novel formula assignment algorithm based on deuterium (D)-labeled UHR-MS, namely, FTMSDeu, for the first time. This algorithm was employed to determine the precursor molecules of halogenated disinfection byproducts (Xn-DBPs) and to evaluate the relative contribution of electrophilic addition and substitution reactions in Xn-DBP formation according to the H/D exchange of DOM molecules. Further, tandem mass spectrometry with homologous-based network analysis was used to validate the formula assignment accuracy of FTMSDeu in the identification of iodinated disinfection byproducts. Electrophilic substitution accounted for 82–98, 71–89, and 43–45% of the formation for Cl-, Br-, and I-containing Xn-DBPs, respectively, indicating the dominant role of the electrophilic substitution in chlorinated disinfection byproducts with low Br and I concentrations. The absence of putative precursors in some Xn-DBPs also suggests that Xn-DBP formation includes secondary reactions (e.g., oxidation and hydrolysis) in addition to the electrophilic addition and/or substitution of halogens. These findings highlight the significance of isotopically labeled UHR-MS techniques in revealing the transformation of DOM in natural and engineered systems.