Multiresidue determination of chlorophenoxy acid herbicides in human urine samples by use of solid-phase extraction and capillary LC–UV detection
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Chlorophenoxy acid herbicides are intensively applied to get rid of unwanted plants because of their low cost and selectivity. Due to their toxicity, which depends on their chemical form, the European Community has established legal directives to restrict their use and to control their maximum residue levels in several matrices. Determination of chlorophenoxy acids—2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA), 2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)propanoic acid (2,4-DP), 2-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy)propanoic acid (MCPP), 4-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy)butanoic acid (MCPB) and 2-(2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy)propanoic acid (2,4,5-TP) in spiked human urine samples has been carried out by capillary LC, after solid-phase extraction on a column packed with silica C18 restricted-access material. Chromatographic analysis was performed in gradient-elution mode at 25 °C, with injection of 20 μL low-organic-solvent composition herbicide solutions for focusing purposes on the head of the capillary column, and diode array detection at 232 nm. Urine samples collected during 24 h from healthy and unexposed volunteers were spiked in the concentration range 25–150 μg L−1; recoveries obtained were between 66 and 100% (n = 6 for each spiked level) and RSDs (relative standard deviations) were between 1 and 5%. Detection limits in the urine samples from volunteers were between 3.5 and 6.0 μg L−1. The developed methodology has allowed the clean-up and preconcentration of low volumes of untreated human urine without previous treatment, showing the effectiveness of the employed SPE sorbent for extracting the target analytes and ultimately resulting in the reduction of the sample-preparation time.
KeywordsChlorophenoxy acid herbicides Capillary liquid chromatography Preconcentration and sample clean-up Restricted-access material Urine
Authors wish to thank the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (Dirección General de Investigación) for financial support (project BQU-2003-00667). N.R. wishes to thank the Complutense University for support through a predoctoral fellowship.
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