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Identification of opioids in surface and wastewaters by LC/QTOF-MS using retrospective data analysis

Campos-Mañas, Marina Celia, Ferrer, Imma, Thurman, E. Michael, Sánchez Pérez, José Antonio, Agüera, Ana
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.664 pp. 874-884
antidepressants, aquatic environment, buprenorphine, codeine, databases, fentanyl, heroin, ions, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, metabolites, methadone, morphine, retrospective studies, surface water, wastewater, Minnesota
Opioids, both as prescription drugs and abuse substances, have been a hot topic and a focus of discussion in the media for the last few years. Although the literature published shows the occurrence of opioids and some of their metabolites in the aquatic environment, there are scarce data in the application of high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) for the analysis of these compounds in the environment. The use of HRMS allows increasing the number of opioids that can be studied as well as the detection of unknown opioids, their metabolites and potential transformation products. In this work, a retrospective analysis for the identification of opioids and their metabolites using a curated database was applied to surface water and wastewater samples taken in the state of Minnesota (U.S.) in 2009, which were previously analyzed by liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC/TOF-MS) for antidepressants. The database comprised >200 opioids including natural opiates (e.g. morphine and codeine), their semi-synthetic derivatives (e.g. heroin, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, meperidine and buprenorphine), fully synthetic opioids (e.g. fentanyl, methadone, tramadol, dextromethorphan and propoxyphene), as well as some of their metabolites (e.g. 6-monoacetylcodeine, dextrorphan, EDDP, normorphine and O-desmethyltramadol). Moreover, additional MS-MS experiments were performed to confirm their identification, as well as to recognize fragmentation patterns and diagnostic ions for several opioids. These data provide a better understanding of the historical occurrence of opioids and their metabolites in surface waters impacted by wastewater sources. The concentrations of individual opioids in surface water and wastewater effluent varied from 8.8 (EDDP) to 1640 (tramadol) ngL−1 and from 12 (dihydrocodeine) to 1288 (tramadol) ngL−1, respectively. The opioids with higher overall frequency detections were tramadol, dextromethorphan and its metabolite, dextrorphan.