Research Assistant Professor,
Colorado State University
Dr. Jens Blotevogel is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University and Co-Director of CSU's Center for Contaminant Hydrology. Dr. Blotevogel’s research revolves around the fate of emerging contaminants, conducting laboratory- and field-scale experiments to elucidate their degradation in both natural and engineered systems. He has developed sustainable water treatment technologies, theoretical models for contaminant degradation prediction, and various advanced analytical methods with a focus on high-resolution accurate mass spectrometry. Dr. Blotevogel is currently working on solutions for managing PFASs, 1,4-dioxane, nitroaromatic compounds, perchlorate, and oil & gas produced water.
Ultrahigh-Resolution Forensics on PFAS-contaminated Groundwater for Source Tracking and Allocation
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are key components in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) formulations used for firefighting. Their widespread application and release to the environment has raised concerns over the groundwater contamination. However, PFASs also occur in numerous other commercial and consumer products, and the origins of their presence may be ambiguous. Here, we demonstrate the unprecedented capabilities of ultrahigh-resolution Fourier-Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) to characterize complex PFAS contaminations at the molecular level. Groundwater samples were taken at three contaminated sites, extracted, and analyzed by negative electrospray ionization at 21 tesla using the world’s highest-resolving mass spectrometer at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. Molecular composition only achievable by ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry due to the compositional complexity in PFAS extracts provides an opportunity to compare PFAS composition and manufacturing sources (e.g., application and wastewater treatment plants). Future studies aim to develop analytical methods that can be routinely applied on benchtop and low-resolution mass spectrometers based on chemical signatures identified by FT-ICR MS in field samples.