Comparison of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and immunoassay techniques on concentrations of atrazine in storm runoff

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Abstract

Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) techniques were used to measure concentrations of dissolved atrazine in 149 surface-water samples. Samples were collected during May 1992–September 1993 near the mouth of the White River (Indiana) and in two small tributaries of the river. GC/MS was performed on a Hewlett-Packard 5971 A

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with electron impact ionization and selected ion monitoring of filtered water samples extracted by C-18 solid phase extraction; ELISA was performed with a magnetic-particle-based assay with photometric analysis. ELISA results compared reasonably well to GC/MS measurements at concentrations below the Maximum Contaminant Level for drinking water set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (3.0 μg/L), but a systematic negative bias was observed at higher concentrations. When higher concentration samples were diluted into the linear range of calibration, the relation improved. A slight positive bias was seen in all of the ELISA data compared to the GC/MS results, and the bias could be partially explained by correcting the ELISA data for cross reactivity with other triazine herbicides. The highest concentrations of atrazine were found during the first major runoff event after the atrazine was applied. Concentrations decreased throughout the rest of the sampling period even though large runoff events occurred during this time, indicating that most atrazine loading to surface waters in the study area occurs within a few weeks after application.