Analytica chimica acta

Determination of chiral pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs in wastewater and sludge using microwave assisted extraction, solid-phase extraction and chiral liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry.

PMID 26043098


This is the first study presenting a multi-residue method allowing for comprehensive analysis of several chiral pharmacologically active compounds (cPACs) including beta-blockers, antidepressants and amphetamines in wastewater and digested sludge at the enantiomeric level. Analysis of both the liquid and solid matrices within wastewater treatment is crucial to being able to carry out mass balance within these systems. The method developed comprises filtration, microwave assisted extraction and solid phase extraction followed by chiral liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry to analyse the enantiomers of 18 compounds within all three matrices. The method was successfully validated for 10 compounds within all three matrices (amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA, venlafaxine, desmethylvenlafaxine, citalopram, metoprolol, propranolol and sotalol), 7 compounds validated for the liquid matrices only (mirtazapine, salbutamol, fluoxetine, desmethylcitalopram, atenolol, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine) and 1 compound (alprenolol) passing the criteria for solid samples only. The method was then applied to wastewater samples; cPACs were found at concentration ranges in liquid matrices of: 1.7 ng L(-1) (metoprolol) - 1321 ng L(-1) (tramadol) in influent,

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