A method using automated on-line solid phase extraction (SPE) directly coupled to liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has been developed for the analysis of six pharmaceuticals by isotope dilution. These selected pharmaceuticals were chosen as representative indicator compounds and were used to evaluate the performance of the on-line SPE method in four distinct water matrices. Method reporting limits (MRLs) ranged from 10 to 25 ng/L, based on a 1 mL extraction volume. Matrix spike recoveries ranged from 88 to 118% for all matrices investigated, including finished drinking water, surface water, wastewater effluent and septic tank influent. Precision tests were performed at 50 and 1000 ng/L with relative standard deviations (RSDs) between 1.3 and 5.7%. A variety of samples were also extracted using a traditional off-line automated SPE method for comparison. Results for both extraction methods were in good agreement; however, on-line SPE used approximately 98% less solvent and less time. On-line SPE coupled to LC-MS/MS analysis for selected indicators offers an alternative, more environmentally friendly, method for pharmaceutical analysis in water by saving time and costs while reducing hazardous waste and potential environmental pollution as compared with off-line SPE methods.
- Isotope dilution
- Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
- On-line solid phase extraction (SPE)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry