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Comparison of accelerated solvent extraction and quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe method for extraction and determination of pharmaceuticals in vegetables A

Chuang, Ya-Hui, Zhang, Yingjie, Zhang, Wei, Boyd, Stephen A., Li, Hui
Journal of chromatography 2015 v.1404 pp. 1-9
biosolids, celery, detection limit, drug residues, human health, humans, hydroponics, irrigation, land application, lettuce, liquid chromatography, solvents, statistical analysis, tandem mass spectrometry, wastewater treatment
Land application of biosolids and irrigation with reclaimed water in agricultural production could result in accumulation of pharmaceuticals in vegetable produce. To better assess the potential human health impact from long-term consumption of pharmaceutical-contaminated vegetables, it is important to accurately quantify the amount of pharmaceuticals accumulated in vegetables. In this study, a quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged and safe (QuEChERS) method was developed and optimized to extract multiple classes of pharmaceuticals from vegetables, which were subsequently quantified by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. For the eleven target pharmaceuticals in celery and lettuce, the extraction recovery of the QuEChERS method ranged from 70.1 to 118.6% with relative standard deviation <20%, and the method detection limit was achieved at the levels of nanograms of pharmaceuticals per gram of vegetables. The results revealed that the performance of the QuEChERS method was comparable to, or better than that of accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) method for extraction of pharmaceuticals from plants. The two optimized extraction methods were applied to quantify the uptake of pharmaceuticals by celery and lettuce growing hydroponically. The results showed that all the eleven target pharmaceuticals could be absorbed by the vegetables from water. Compared to the ASE method, the QuEChERS method offers the advantages of short time and reduced costs of sample preparation, and less amount of organic solvents used. The established QuEChERS method could be used to determine the accumulation of multiple classes of pharmaceutical residues in vegetables and other plants, which is needed to evaluate the quality and safety of agricultural produce consumed by humans.