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Detection and analysis of neonicotinoids in river waters – Development of a passive sampler for three commonly used insecticides

Sánchez-Bayo, Francisco, Hyne, Ross V.
Chemosphere 2014 v.99 pp. 143-151
clothianidin, groundwater, hydrophobicity, imidacloprid, insecticide residues, liquid chromatography, river water, rivers, samplers, surveys, thiacloprid, water pollution, Australia
Increasing and widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides all over the world, together with their environmental persistence mean that surface and ground waters need to be monitored regularly for their residues. However, current multi-residue analytical methods for waters are inadequate for trace residue analysis of these compounds, while passive sampling devices are unavailable. A new method using UltraPerformance Liquid Chromatography provided good separation of the five most common neonicotinoid compounds, with limits of quantitation in the range 0.6–1.0ng. The method was tested in a survey of rivers around Sydney (Australia), where 93% of samples contained two or more neonicotinoids in the range 0.06–4.5μgL−1. Styrenedivinylbenzene-reverse phase sulfonated Empore™ disks were selected as the best matrix for use in passive samplers. Uptake of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiacloprid in a flow-through laboratory system for 3weeks was linear and proportional to their water concentrations over the range 1–10μgL−1. Sampling rates of 8–15mLd−1 were correlated to the hydrophobicity of the individual compounds. The passive samplers and analytical methods presented here can detect trace concentrations of neonicotinoids in water.