Rapid detection of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) using paper spray-based mass spectrometry

Md Tanim Al Hassan, Xingzhi Chen, Praneeth Ivan Joel Fnu, Francis J. Osonga, Omowunmi A. Sadik, Mengyan Li, Hao Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Traditional PFAS analysis by mass spectrometry (MS) is time-consuming, as laborious sample preparation (e.g., extraction and desalting) is necessary. Herein, we report fast detection of PFAS by paper spray (PS)-based MS techniques, which employs a triangular-shaped filter paper for sample loading and ionization (≤ 3 min per sample). In this study, PS-MS was first used for direct PFAS analysis of drinking water, tap water, and wastewater. Interestingly, food package paper materials can be directly cut and examined with PS-MS for possible PFAS contamination. For samples containing salt matrices which would suppress PFAS ion signal, desalting paper spray mass spectrometry (DPS-MS), was shown to be capable of rapidly desalting, ionizing and detecting PFAS species such as per-fluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and per-fluorosulphonic acid (PFOS). The retention of PFAS on paper substrate while salts being washed away by water is likely due to hydrophilic interaction between the PFAS polar head (e.g., carboxylic acid, sulfonic acid) with the polar filter paper cellulose surface. The DPS-MS method is highly sensitive (limits of detection:1.2–4.5 ppt) and can be applicable for directly analyzing soil extract and soil samples. These results suggest the high potential of PS-MS and the related DPS-MS technique in real-world environmental analysis of PFAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133366
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Mar 5 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Desalting paper spray
  • Food packaging material
  • Mass spectrometry
  • PFAS
  • Paper spray
  • Soil sample


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