Tracing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the aquatic environment : Target analysis and beyond

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

View graph of relations


Original languageEnglish
Article number117351
Journal / PublicationTrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry
Online published11 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023



Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been manufactured and used for decades. The aquatic environment is a critical transportation and transformation compartment for PFASs. Target analysis is the most used method of tracing PFASs in the aquatic environment but is powerless for the large amounts of unknown PFASs. This review summarizes the advantages of three target analysis supplementary approaches, including extractable organofluorine (EOF) analysis, high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) screening, and PFAS precursor oxidative conversion. For known PFASs, more targets, including emerging PFASs, PFAS isomers, ultrashort-chain PFASs, and cationic/zwitterionic PFASs, should be considered. For unknown PFASs and organofluorines, developing comprehensive and low-contaminated sample treatment strategies is essential yet challenging. We propose including PFASs screened via HRMS at confidence level (CL) 3 and above in EOF mass balance analysis and CL 4 for samples collected from a “known source”. Appropriate approaches should be applied to investigate unknown PFASs beyond target analysis comprehensively. © 2023 The Authors.

Research Area(s)

  • Aqueous film forming foam, Extractable organofluorine, High-resolution mass spectrometry, Mass balance, Nontarget and suspect screening, Oxidative conversion

Citation Format(s)

Download Statistics

No data available