In this paper we describe an environmentally friendly and sensitive method for the determination of ten primary amines in sewage sludge. The method is based on pressurised hot water extraction (PHWE) followed by simultaneous derivatization with pentafluorobenzaldehyde (PFBAY) and headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME) and subsequent gas-chromatography ion-trap tandem mass spectrometry (GC-IT-MS-MS) analysis. The influence of the main factors on the PHWE of sludge was optimized by a central composite design. For all species the optimal conditions were water at pH 4 as the extracting solvent, an extraction temperature of 100 degrees C and an extraction time of 15 min. The separation and detection of the ten amines by GC-IT-MS-MS took just 10 min and the entire process took approximately 1 h. Repeatability and reproducibility between days, expressed as RSD (%) (n=5), were less than 19 and 24%, respectively. The average limit of detection (LOD) was of 65 microg kg(-1) s (range found 9-135) and the average limit of quantification (LOQ) was of 230 microg kg(-1) (range found 50-450) of dry weight (d.w.). Under optimized conditions we used this method to determine the compounds in industrial and municipal sewage sludge samples and in sludge from a potable water treatment plant. Methylamine and isobutylamine showed the highest levels in one of the industrial sewage sludge samples (404 and 543 mg kg(-1) (d.w.), respectively). To our knowledge, this paper presents for the first time the determination of ten primary amines in sewage sludge samples using PHWE.
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