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J Chromatogr A. 2012 Sep 21;1256:80-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2012.07.038. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Simultaneous measurement in mass and mass/mass mode for accurate qualitative and quantitative screening analysis of pharmaceuticals in river water.

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Fundación IMDEA-Agua, C/Punto Net 4, 2ª planta, Edificio ZYE, Parque Científico Tecnológico de Universidad de Alcalá, 28805 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain.


A new approach for the analysis of pharmaceuticals (target and non-target) in water by LC-QTOF-MS is described in this work. The study has been designed to assess the performance of the simultaneous quantitative screening of target compounds, and the qualitative analysis of non-target analytes, in just one run. The features of accurate mass full scan mass spectrometry together with high MS/MS spectral acquisition rates - by means of information dependent acquisition (IDA) - have demonstrated their potential application in this work. Applying this analytical strategy, an identification procedure is presented based on library searching for compounds which were not included a priori in the analytical method as target compounds, thus allowing their characterization by data processing of accurate mass measurements in MS and MS/MS mode. The non-target compounds identified in river water samples were ketorolac, trazodone, fluconazole, metformin and venlafaxine. Simultaneously, this strategy allowed for the identification of other compounds which were not included in the library by screening the highest intensity peaks detected in the samples and by analysis of the full scan TOF-MS, isotope pattern and MS/MS spectra - the example of loratadine (histaminergic) is described. The group of drugs of abuse selected as target compounds for evaluation included analgesics, opioids and psychostimulants. Satisfactory results regarding sensitivity and linearity of the developed method were obtained. Limits of detection for the selected target compounds were from 0.003 to 0.01 μg/L and 0.01 to 0.5 μg/L, in MS and MS/MS mode, respectively - by direct sample injection of 100 μL.

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