Photo of Anna Andersson

Anna Andersson


My research is about analyzing potentially toxic disinfection by-products in drinking water using ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry and to investigate how the overall human exposure to these compounds can be reduced.

Unwanted by-products in drinking water

When water is purified to avoid spread of waterborne diseases, chlorination is one of the methods used. However, chlorine reacts with natural organic matter present in the water and result in the formation of disinfection by-products. Many of these by-products are toxic, why work on reducing their formation is important.

So far about 700 disinfection by-products have been identified but a large portion remain unknown. The focus of this research is to analyze this unknown portion to gain increased knowledge about the mixture of by-products formed in drinking water. For this purpose, a non-target approach is adopted were ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry, specifically Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT ICR MS) is used to analyze which type of by-products that are formed and adsorbable organic halogens (AOX) is used for quantitative analysis.

What I like most about doing research (except that it is very exciting) is all the people I get to meet and work together with, both at the university, at the water treatment plants and with other collaborators. In the future, I am also interested in working with drinking water issues related to challenges in developing countries.Disinfection by-products occur at low levels and need to be extracted from the water prior to analysis. Photo credit Alexander Åkerberg




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