Journal of chromatography. A

Using chiral liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry for the analysis of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs in surface and wastewater at the enantiomeric level.

PMID 22749459


This paper presents and compares for the first time two chiral LC-QTOF-MS methodologies (utilising CBH and Chirobiotic V columns with cellobiohydrolase and vancomycin as chiral selectors) for the quantification of amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDA (methylenedioxyamphetamine), MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), propranolol, atenolol, metoprolol, fluoxetine and venlafaxine in river water and sewage effluent. The lowest MDLs (0.3-5.0 ng L(-1) and 1.3-15.1 ng L(-1) for river water and sewage effluent respectively) were observed using the chiral column Chirobiotic V. This is with the exception of methamphetamine and MDMA which had lower MDLs using the CBH column. However, the CBH column resulted in better resolution of enantiomers (R(s)=2.5 for amphetamine compared with R(s)=1.2 with Chirobiotic V). Method recovery rates were typically >80% for both methodologies. Pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs detected and quantified in environmental samples were successfully identified using MS/MS confirmation. In sewage effluent, the total beta-blocker concentrations of propranolol, atenolol and metoprolol were on average 77.0, 1091.0 and 3.6 ng L(-1) thus having EFs (Enantiomeric Fractions) of 0.43, 0.55 and 0.54 respectively. In river water, total propranolol and atenolol was quantified on average at <10.0 ng L(-1). Differences in EF between sewage and river water matrices were evident: venlafaxine was observed with respective EF of 0.43 ± 0.02 and 0.58 ± 0.02.