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Title: Effective methylation of phosphonic acids related to chemical warfare agents mediated by trimethyloxonium tetrafluoroborate for their qualitative detection and identification by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

The effective methylation of phosphonic acids related to chemical warfare agents (CWAs) employing trimethyloxonium tetrafluoroborate (TMO·BF 4) for their qualitative detection and identification by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is presented. The methylation occurs in rapid fashion (1 h) and can be conveniently carried out at ambient temperature, thus providing a safer alternative to the universally employed diazomethane-based methylation protocols. Optimization of the methylation parameters led us to conclude that methylene chloride was the ideal solvent to carry out the derivatization, and that even though methylated products can be observed surfacing after only 1 h, additional time was not found to be detrimental but beneficial to the process particularly when dealing with analytes at low concentrations (~10 μg mL -1). Due to its insolubility in methylene chloride, TMO·BF 4 conveniently settles to the bottom during the reaction and does not produce additional interfering by-products that may further complicate the GC-MS analysis. We demonstrated the method to successfully methylate a variety of Schedule 2 phosphonic acids, including their half esters, resulting in derivatives that were readily detected and identified using the instrument's spectral library. Most importantly, the method was shown to simultaneously methylate a mixture of the organophosphorus-based nerve agent hydrolysis products:more » pinacolyl methylphosphonate (PMPA), cyclohexyl methylphosphonate (CyMPA) and ethyl methylphosphonate (EMPA) (at a 10 μg mL -1 concentration each) in a fatty acid ester-rich organic matrix (OPCW-PT-O 3) featured in the 38th Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Proficiency Test. Additionally, the protocol was found to effectively methylate N,N-diethylamino ethanesulfonic acid and N,N-diisopropylamino ethanesulfonic acid that are products arising from the oxidative degradation of the V-series agents VR and VX respectively. This work described herein represents the first report on the use of TMO·BF 4 as a viable, stable and safe agent for the methylation of phosphonic acids and their half esters and within the context of an OPCW Proficiency Test sample analysis.« less
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division, Forensic Science Center
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
LLNL-JRNL-682362
Journal ID: ISSN 0003-2670
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Analytica Chimica Acta
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 933; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0003-2670
Publisher:
Elsevier
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; Methylation; Trimethyloxonium; Phosphonic acid; Nerve agent; Derivatization; Aminoethylsulfonic acids
OSTI Identifier:
1368027