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Water Res. 2010 Apr;44(7):2325-35. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2009.12.035. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Occurrence of polar organic contaminants in the dissolved water phase of the Danube River and its major tributaries using SPE-LC-MS(2) analysis.

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European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Via Enrico Fermi, 21020 Ispra, Italy.


Polar water-soluble organic contaminants were analysed in the dissolved liquid water phase of river water samples from the Danube River and its major tributaries (within the Joint Danube Survey 2). Analyses were performed by solid-phase extraction (SPE) followed by triple-quadrupole liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS(2)). In total, 34 different polar organic compounds were screened. Focus was given on pharmaceutical compounds (such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, sulfamethoxazole, carbamazepine), pesticides and their degradation products (e.g. bentazone, 2,4-D, mecoprop, atrazine, terbutylazine, desethylterbutylazine), perfluorinated acids (PFOS; PFOA), and endocrine disrupting compounds (nonylphenol, NPE(1)C, bisphenol A, estrone). The most relevant polar compounds identified in the Danube River basin in terms of frequency of detection, persistency, and concentration levels were 1H-benzotriazole (median concentration 185 ng/L), caffeine (87 ng/L), tolyltriazole (73 ng/L), nonylphenoxy acetic acid (49 ng/L), carbamazepine (33 ng/L), 4-nitrophenol (29 ng/L), 2,4-dinitrophenol (19 ng/L), PFOA (17 ng/L), sulfamethoxazole (16 ng/L), desethylatrazine (11 ng/L), and 2,4-D (10 ng/L). The highest contamination levels were found in the area around Budapest and in the tributary rivers Arges (Romania), Timok (Bulgaria), Rusenski Lom (Bulgaria), and Velika Morava (Serbia).

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