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Anal Chem. 2007 Feb 1;79(3):1135-44.

Trace analysis of trimethoprim and sulfonamide, macrolide, quinolone, and tetracycline antibiotics in chlorinated drinking water using liquid chromatography electrospray tandem mass spectrometry.

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Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7431, USA.


A multirun analytical method has been developed and validated for trace determination of 24 antibiotics including 7 sulfonamides, 3 macrolides, 7 quinolones, 6 tetracyclines, and trimethoprim in chlorine-disinfected drinking water using a single solid-phase extraction method coupled to liquid chromatography with positive electrospray tandem mass spectrometry detection. The analytes were extracted by a hydrophilic-lipophilic balanced resin and eluted with acidified methanol (0.1% formic acid), resulting in analyte recoveries generally above 90%. The limits of quantitation were mostly below 10 ng/L in drinking water. Since the concentrated sample matrix typically caused ion suppression during electrospray ionization, the method of standard addition was used for quantitation. Chlorine residuals in drinking water can react with some antibiotics, but ascorbic acid was found to be an effective chlorine quenching agent without affecting the analysis and stability of the antibiotics in water. A preliminary occurrence study using this method revealed the presence of some antibiotics in drinking waters, including sulfamethoxazole (3.0-3.4 ng/L), macrolides (1.4-4.9 ng/L), and quinolones (1.2-4.0 ng/L).

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