QuEChERS—A Green Alternative Approach for the Determination of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Environmental and Food Samples

  • Christina Nannou
  • Anna Ofrydopoulou
  • David Heath
  • Ester Heath
  • Dimitra LambropoulouEmail author
Part of the Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technology book series (GCST)


The widespread environmental distribution of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) is well-recognized, and the number of recent studies reflects the continuing interest and high level of research activity on the presence of PPCPs in the environment and food. In order to quantify their low environmental levels, sensitive and selective analytical methodologies are required. Recently, significant effort has gone into determining their concentrations in environmental matrices, with special attention to environment-friendly practices and the development of so-called Green Analytical Chemistry (GAC) methods. GAC is one of the most active areas of research and development in Green Chemistry and represents a real challenge for environmental analytical chemists. Its objective is the introduction of new techniques and methodologies able to minimize the environmental and occupational hazards involved in all stages of chemical analysis, allowing faster and more energy-efficient methods without compromising performance criteria. To accomplish the goal of GAC, the QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe) method was introduced. As a result of the inherent advantages of the QuEChERS having “Green Chemistry” characteristics, the method has expanded rapidly to include the extraction of different groups of contaminants from various matrices and emerged as a green alternative to traditional sample preparation steps. This chapter deals with the application of the QuEChERS approach as a “green” sample preparation technique for determining PPCPs residues in environmental and food matrices and highlights major trends in its development. A brief explanation of the analytical technique used is provided together with a discussion of the experimental features of the studies reviewed.


Green Analytical Chemistry QuEChERS PPCPs Environmental samples Food samples 



Ms. Α. Ofrydopoulou would like to thank the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) and the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (H.F.R.I.) for providing her scholarship through the action “1st Proclamation of Scholarships from ELIDEK for Ph.D. Candidates”—Scholarship Code: 429, as well as the Onassis Foundation for the grant of a doctoral scholarship through the Greek Scholarship Program for Greeks for the academic year 2016/2017.

Ester Heath and David Heath acknowledge the project (ISO-FOOD): “ERA CHAIR FOR ISOTOPE TECHNIQUES IN FOOD QUALITY, SAFETY AND TRACEABILITY,” Grant agreement no: 621329, Duration: 2014–2019.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Nannou
    • 1
  • Anna Ofrydopoulou
    • 1
  • David Heath
    • 2
  • Ester Heath
    • 2
    • 3
  • Dimitra Lambropoulou
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesJožef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate SchoolLjubljanaSlovenia

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