Simultaneous determination of 15 top-prescribed pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in influent wastewater by reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry
van Nuijs, Alexander L.N.
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Talanta : the international journal of pure and applied analytical chemistry. - Oxford, 1958, currens
, p. 795-803
University of Antwerp
A fast and sensitive high performance reversed-phase liquid chromatographytandem mass spectrometry method was developed and validated for the analysis of 15 prescription pharmaceuticals and four of their metabolites in influent wastewater. The selected pharmaceuticals belonged to various classes, such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor antagonists, calcium antagonists, β-blockers, antidepressants, analgetics, anticonvulsants, platelet antiaggregants, and cholesterol lowering agents. They were selected from the list of top-sold prescription pharmaceuticals in Belgium. The chromatographic separation was optimized in order to achieve suitable retention times, good resolution for analytes susceptible of mass spectrometric cross-talk and high sensitivity in one single run. All compounds eluted within 9 min on a Phenomenex Kinetex C18 column, based on a newly developed technology that allows a very narrow distribution of the coreshell particles, providing high separation efficiency. Sample preparation was executed with solid-phase extraction on Oasis MCX cartridges. The method was validated by assessing specificity, selectivity, lower limit of quantification (LLOQ), linearity, accuracy, precision, extraction recovery, and matrix effects following Food and Drug Administration guidelines. The method LLOQs ranged from 0.5 to 25 ng/L. Calibration curves and LLOQs were designed to provide a good analytical performance at concentrations expected in real influent wastewater samples for each target compound. Eight deuterated analogues were used as internal standards for quantification. The method was applied to influent wastewater samples collected from 17 different wastewater treatment plants throughout Belgium. Most of the analytes were measured in the samples at concentrations above LLOQ. Seven of the compounds were for the first time reported in influent wastewater. The newly developed analytical method is currently used to assess relationships between sales figures of pharmaceuticals and their corresponding concentrations in influent wastewater.