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Anal Chem. 2010 Jan 15;82(2):699-706. doi: 10.1021/ac902340e.

Part-per-trillion determination of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and related organic contaminants in river water by solid-phase extraction followed by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Girona, Campus Montilivi, E-17071 Girona, Spain.


An analytical procedure based on comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC x GC) coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) for the simultaneous determination of 97 organic contaminants at trace concentration in river water is presented. The target analytes included 13 pharmaceuticals, 18 plasticizers, 8 personal care products, 9 acid herbicides, 8 triazines, 10 organophosphorous compounds, 5 phenylureas, 12 organochlorine biocides, 9 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and 5 benzothiazoles and benzotriazoles. The best resolution of the target analytes in the contour plots was obtained when a nonpolar stationary phase was used in the first dimension and polar one in the second. However, in the opposite configuration, polar-nonpolar, the retention time in the second dimension exhibited a strong correlation with the log Kow (p < 0.01), and it was proposed as an additional identification criteria. The developed methodology is based on a polymeric solid-phase extraction followed by in GC-port methylation and GC x GC/TOF-MS determination. Moreover, limits of detection (LODs) and quantification (LOQs) ranged from 0.5 to 100 ng/L and from 2 to 185 ng/L, respectively. Repeatability was always lower than 20%. Finally, the developed method has been successfully applied to the determination of incurred target analytes in four river waters subjected to a different anthropogenic pressure.

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