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Development of an online SPE-UHPLC-MS/MS method for the multiresidue analysis of the 17 compounds from the EU “Watch list”

Gusmaroli, Lucia, Insa, Sara, Petrovic, Mira
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2018 v.410 no.17 pp. 4165-4176
European Union, aquatic ecosystems, compliance, detection limit, effluents, laws and regulations, multiresidue analysis, solid phase extraction, spectrometers, surface water, ultra-performance liquid chromatography, wastewater
During the last decades, the quality of aquatic ecosystems has been threatened by increasing levels of pollutions, caused by the discharge of man-made chemicals, both via accidental release of pollutants as well as a consequence of the constant outflow of inadequately treated wastewater effluents. For this reason, the European Union is updating its legislations with the aim of limiting the release of emerging contaminants. The Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2015/495 published in March 2015 drafts a “Watch list” of compounds to be monitored Europe-wide. In this study, a methodology based on online solid-phase extraction (SPE) ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer (UHPLC-MS/MS) was developed for the simultaneous determination of the 17 compounds listed therein. The proposed method offers advantages over already available methods, such as versatility (all 17 compounds can be analyzed simultaneously), shorter time required for analysis, robustness, and sensitivity. The employment of online sample preparation minimized sample manipulation and reduced dramatically the sample volume needed and time required, dramatically the sample volume needed and time required, thus making the analysis fast and reliable. The method was successfully validated in surface water and influent and effluent wastewater. Limits of detection ranged from sub- to low-nanogram per liter levels, in compliance with the EU limits, with the only exception of EE2. Graphical abstract Schematic of the workflow for the analysis of the Watch list compounds.