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Environ Pollut. 2007 Mar;146(2):543-7. Epub 2006 Sep 28.

Determination of selected quaternary ammonium compounds by liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry. Part II. Application to sediment and sludge samples in Austria.

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Umweltbundesamt GmbH (Austrian Federal Environment Agency), Spittelauer Lände 5, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


Soxhlet extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to tandem mass spectrometry detection (MS/MS) was used for the determination of selected quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) in solid samples. The method was applied for the determination of alkyl benzyl, dialkyl and trialkyl quaternary ammonium compounds in sediment and sludge samples in Austria. The overall method quantification limits range from 0.6 to 3 microg/kg for sediments and from 2 to 5 microg/kg for sewage sludges. Mean recoveries between 67% and 95% are achieved. In general sediments were especially contaminated by C12 chain benzalkonium chloride (BAC-C12) as well as by the long C-chain dialkyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC-C18) with a maximum concentration of 3.6 mg/kg and 2.1mg/kg, respectively. Maxima of 27 mg/kg for DDAC-C10, 25 mg/kg for BAC-C12 and 23 mg/kg for BAC-C14 were determined for sludge samples. The sums of the 12 selected target compounds range from 22 mg/kg to 103 mg/kg in the sludge samples.

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