High resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) offers the opportunity to use a single analysis to simultaneously measure concentrations of target compounds, screen for suspect compounds against large exact mass and/or MS/MS databases, and to look for unique marker compounds prior to their identification (non-target analysis). Statistical analysis of aligned nontarget feature abundances against bioassay activity offers a means for prioritizing identification of the most toxicologically significant features. This presentation describes the development of integrated workflows using liquid chromatography and gas chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-Q/TOF-MS and LC-Q/TOF-MS) for wildfire ash, drinking water, and biomethane combustion products. These examples are unified by the need to consider the formation of unknown or unexpected byproducts that may pose toxicity risks via combustion, biotransformation, or other abiotic reactions.
Dr. Young is a Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Davis, who specializes in measuring and modeling the fate and transport of trace organic compounds and heavy metals and in assessing their environmental impacts. His recent research focuses on applications of high resolution mass spectrometry in environmental monitoring and remediation to identify unknown contaminants of potential health concern. He has applied these tools to assess the quality and safety of drinking water, wastewater, house dust, ambient surface water, biosolids, and biomethane and how these can be improved (e.g., by treatment or source control) or degraded (e.g., by wildfires). Dr. Young has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, a master’s degree in Public Policy and a PhD in Environmental Engineering. He has authored more than 125 peer-reviewed publications and currently serves as the Associate Director of the UC Davis Superfund Research Center. He has previously served on the Environmental Engineering Committee and the Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Committee of the US EPA’s Science Advisory Board.