Application of microwave-assisted extraction and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry for the analysis of sex hormones and corticosteroids in sewage sludge samples
Hormonal compounds are a concern to the international community because they can affect the aquatic biota and are therefore considered to be endocrine-disrupting compounds. These compounds have lipophilic properties, so they tend to accumulate in solid matrices, such as sewage sludge. This work presents the optimization of a microwave-assisted extraction process combined with ultra-high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry for the determination of 15 hormonal compounds in sludge samples. The proposed method has relative standard deviations below 23 %, good recoveries (over 71 %) for all compounds, detection limits that ranged from 1.1 to 7.9 ng g−1 and quantification limits which ranged from 3.7 to 26.3 ng g−1. The method was used to analyse sludge samples from four different wastewater treatment plants of Gran Canaria (Spain) with different wastewater treatments. 17β-estradiol, 17α-ethynylestradiol, norgestrel and cortisone were detected in sludge samples at concentrations that ranged from 17.3 to 1.44 × 103 ng g−1. The developed method permits the use of small quantities of sample and organic solvents, presents short extractions times and is the first one based on microwave-assisted extraction for the analysis of both sex hormones and corticosteroids.
KeywordsMass spectrometry Microwave-assisted extraction Sludge Steroid hormones Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography
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