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Monitoring of cyanotoxins in water from hypersaline microalgae colonies by ultra high performance liquid chromatography with diode array and tandem mass spectrometry detection following salting-out liquid-liquid extraction

Hemmati, Maryam, Tejada-Casado, Carmen, Lara, Francisco J., García-Campaña, Ana M., Rajabi, Maryam, del Olmo-Iruela, Monsalud
Journal of chromatography 2019 v.1608 pp. 460409
acetonitrile, ammonium sulfate, chemical species, detection limit, diodes, formic acid, hypersalinity, liquid-liquid extraction, microalgae, microcystins, monitoring, nodularin, pH, saline water, salt marshes, solvents, tandem mass spectrometry, temperature, ultra-performance liquid chromatography
In this study two different analytical approaches have been developed to determine the presence of several cyanotoxins in saline water samples from a continental salt marsh. A salting-out assisted liquid-liquid extraction (SALLE) has been used in combination with ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and UV-diode array detection (UHPLC-MS/MS and UHPLC-DAD). The target analytes are eight microcystins named MC-RR, MC-YR, MC-LR, MC-WR, MC-LA, MC-LY, MC-LW, MC-LF and nodularin (NOD), covering a wide range of polarities. The separation was achieved using a Zorbax Eclipse Plus RRHD C18 column (50 × 2.1 mm, 1.8 μm) in less than 7.5 and 5.5 min for UV and MS/MS detection, respectively. The mobile phase used consisted of water (solvent A) and acetonitrile (MeCN) (solvent B), both containing 0.01% of formic acid for DAD and 0.4% of formic acid for MS/MS detection, at a flow rate of 0.4 mL min−1. The temperature of the column was set at 25 °C and 20 μL of sample were injected. The main parameters affecting the SALLE procedure were studied and the following optimum values were obtained: neutral pH, 2 mL of acetonitrile as extraction solvent and 1.2 g of ammonium sulfate as salting-out agent for 4 mL of water sample. The validation protocols for both methods were accomplished with real water samples obtaining LODs ranging from 1.0 to 3.4 μg L−1 and 0.02 to 0.11 μg L−1 for DAD and MS/MS respectively. Although the SALLE-UHPLC-DAD methodology is easier and cheaper than UHPLC-MS/MS significantly better detection limits were achieved with tandem mass spectrometry as well as allowing for unambiguous identification. Extraction recoveries were higher than 77.0% (except for MC-RR and NOD which were 53.2% and 54.3, respectively) with satisfactory inter-day and intra-day precisions (RSD below 13.3%).