Dr. Alena Kubátová
Associate ProfessorM.S., 1994, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Charles University, Prague; Ph.D., 1997, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Charles University & Institute of Microbiology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague; Postdoctoral Research Associate, 1998-1999, University of Antwerp; Postdoctoral Research Associate, 2000-2002, Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC), UND; Research Scientist, 2003, EERC, UND.
The research of my group focuses on the development of analytical separation methods. The areas of interest target understanding of the origins of air pollution and its relation to climate changes and health, the detailed characterization of biofuels, and determination of biologically active species. The methods developed typically involve the use of chromatographic techniques with various types of detectors, mainly mass spectrometry (MS), e.g., the instrumentation which is frequently used in research and industry. In our approach, the importance of sample preparation is emphasized, particularly the impact of possible matrix-analyte interactions. This is essential not only for the correct determination of analytes in various matrices, but also for studies involving fate (availability) of the analytes within various processes.
Understanding atmospheric chemistry processes
Air particulate matter is known for its adverse impact on health, as well as on ever discussed climate changes. The building blocks of particulate matter are metals, salts, organic species, and elemental carbon. While inorganics are well characterized, only limited information (~50%) is available on organic species.
The organics can be divided into polar and nonpolar species. Nonpolar and slightly polar compounds are directly related to primary emissions, and have been well characterized using organic solvent extraction and GC/MS. Thus, the interest of our laboratory lies in polar and also heavier molecular weight organics, which are primarily formed from the atmospheric oxidation of volatile and semi-volatile organic species (secondary aerosol formation). This is reflected in the current study on heterogeneous reactions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with various atmospheric oxidants such as NO2 and O3 (funded by the National Science Foundation, ATM No. 0747349). Another study looking into the composition of PM with respect to the occurrence of high molecular weight species and their formation using thermal extraction/pyrolysis with online GC/MS is being funded by SUNRISE EPSCoR.
At present, biofuels seem to be the most easily accessible source of alternative energy. In collaboration with the Chemical Engineering Department (within Sunrise projects) we are studying biofuels generated mainly by the pyrolysis of biomass. In order to fully understand processes of biofuel formation, we are developing methods typically employing GC-MS/FID for detailed characterization. The results obtained enable us not only to improve our understanding of the reaction mechanisms occurring within the process but also making the process more cost effective through possible discoveries of valuable byproducts.
Isolation of biologically active molecules from plant matrices
Today, various bioactive molecules are isolated and/or synthesized to be used in products for the food and drug industry. Our work involves development of selective isolation methods, preferentially using nontoxic solvents such as carbon dioxide and water, for antioxidants, vitamins, essential oils, and other important plant components. Identification of these species is performed using gas and liquid chromatographic techniques with mass spectrometric detection.
RECENT REPRESENTATIVE PUBLICATION
Šťávová, J.; Beránek, J.; Nelson, E.P.; Diep, B.D.; Kubátová, A. Limits of detections for the determination of mono and dicarboxylic acids using gas and liquid chromatographic methods coupled with mass spectrometry. J. Chromatogr. B, 2010 879(17-18),1429-1438.
Šťávová, J.; Sedgeman, C.A.; Smith, Z.T.; Frink, L.A.; Hart, J.A. Niri, V.H.; Kubátová, A. Method development for the determination of wood preservatives in commercially treated wood using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Anal. Chim. Acta, 2010, 702, 205–212.
Kubátová, A., Luo, Y., Šťávová, J., Sadrameli, M., Aulich, T., Kozliak, E. and Seames, W. New Path in Thermal Cracking of Triacyl Glycerides (Canola and Soybean Oil),” Fuel, 2011, 90, 2958-2602.
Beránek, J.; Muggli, D.; Kubátová, A. Efficiency of electron and negative chemical ionizations for PFBHA-derivatized aldehydes, J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom., 2010, 21 (4), 592–602.
Luo, Y.; Ahmed, I.; Kubátová, A.; Šťávová, J.; Aulich, T.; Sadrameli, S.M.; Seames, W. S. The thermal cracking of soybean/canola oils and their methyl esters. Fuel Proces. Technol., 2010, 91, 613–617.
Seames, W.S.; Luo, Y.; Ahmed, I.; Aulich, T.; Kubátová, A.; Šťávová, J.; Kozliak, E. Upgrading biodiesel via thermal cracking, Biomass Bioenergy, 2010, 34 (7), 939–946.
Kubátová, A.; Lahren T.J.; Beránek, J.; Smoliakova, I.P.; Braun, A.; Huggins, F.E. Significance of extractable organic carbon and its differentiation by polarity in air particulate matter. Aero. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43 (7), 714–729.
Popova, I.E.; Hall, C.; Kubátová, A. Chromatographic mass spectrometric characterization of lignans in flaxseed. J. Chromatogr. A 2009, 1216 (2), 217–229.
Braun, A.; Kubátová, A.; Wirick, S.; Mun, S.B. Radiation damage from EELS and NEXAFs in diesel soot and diesel soot extracts. J. Electron. Spectr. Rel. Phen. 2009, 170, 42–48.
Beránek, J.; Kubátová, A. Evaluation of solid-phase microextraction methods for determination of trace concentration aldehydes in aqueous solution. J. Chromatogr. A 2008, 1209 (1-2), 44–54.
Braun, A.; Huggins, F.E.; Kubátová, A.; Wirick, S., Maricq, M.M.; Mun, B.S.; McDonald, J.D.; Kelly, K.E.; Shah, N.; Huffman, G.P. Towards distinguishing wood-smoke and diesel exhaust particulates in ambient particulate matter. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2008, 42 (2), 374–380.
Kubátová, A.; Honzatko, A; Brichac, J.; Long, E; Picklo, M.J., Analysis of HNE metabolism in CNS models, Redox Report 2007, 12, 16–19.