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Multi-class determination of pharmaceuticals in wastewaters by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry with matrix effect study

Abstract

In this work, a multi-class analytical method for determination of 22 frequently used pharmaceuticals was developed and validated. Analytes were from different classes for example macrolides, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, sulfonamides, anthelmintics, anesthetics, and others. Method was intended for analysis of aqueous samples so the sample preparation was done using solid-phase extraction (SPE). Different sorbents (C8, C18, polymeric, and ion exchange sorbents) combining different eluents (methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, acetone, ethyl acetate) were investigated during development of sample preparation step. Samples were analyzed using HPLC-MS/MS, and therefore, chromatographic and mass spectrometer conditions were investigated. Optimal extraction efficiencies for most of the investigated analytes were obtained with Oasis HLB polymeric sorbents with acetonitrile as eluent. A study of matrix effect was carried out for wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) influent and effluent. The method was validated for linearity, detection limits and quantification limits, repeatability, and reproducibility. Method detection limits were in the range of 2.0–204.0 ng L−1 for WWTP influent except for sulfaguanidine and dexamethasone. Also, method detection limits for WWTP effluent were from 1.0 to 115.4 ng L−1. Method was successfully applied for analysis of real wastewater samples from municipal wastewater treatment plant. In the influent, pharmaceuticals from all investigated groups were present and the concentrations were from 50.0 to 4914.3 ng L−1 for influent and 26.9 to 1699.2 ng L−1 for effluent. It was also reported that some pharmaceuticals showed higher concentrations in the wastewater effluent than in the influent.

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Acknowledgements

This study has been fully supported by the Croatian Science Foundation under the project Fate of pharmaceuticals in the environment and during advanced wastewater treatment (PharmaFate) (IP-09-2014-2353).

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Correspondence to Mirta Čizmić.

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Responsible editor: Ester Heath

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Čizmić, M., Babić, S. & Kaštelan-Macan, M. Multi-class determination of pharmaceuticals in wastewaters by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry with matrix effect study. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 20521–20539 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9660-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9660-7

Keywords

  • Emerging contaminants
  • SPE
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Matrix effect
  • Method development
  • Environment