Application of graphene for the analysis of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in wastewater
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A novel and reliable analytical method based on a graphene adsorbent for solid-phase extraction (SPE) derivatized with N-tert-butyldimethylsilyl-N- methyltrifluoroacetamide and analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry was developed for determination of nine pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in wastewater samples. Different ratios of graphene/silica gel were tested, with 20 % graphene/silica gel giving the best performance as an SPE adsorbent. The mean recoveries of the target analytes obtained by 20 % graphene/silica gel SPE ranged from 58.1 to 87.6 %. The limit of quantification ranged from 30 to 259 ng/L and from 13 to 115 ng/L for the influent and effluent, respectively. By comparing the accuracy and precision of 20 % graphene/silica gel and Oasis HLB SPE cartridges, we demonstrated that the method can be satisfactorily used for the analysis of PPCPs in wastewater samples. We applied the method to wastewater samples from a sewage treatment plant near Riverside, California, to track the concentration change of PPCPs in the treatment processes.
KeywordsPharmaceuticals and personal care products Graphene Solid-phase extraction Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
We thank Frederick Ernst for his help during the sample collection.