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J Chromatogr A. 2012 Dec 28;1270:88-95. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2012.09.095. Epub 2012 Oct 3.

A critical evaluation of liquid chromatography with hybrid linear ion trap-Orbitrap mass spectrometry for the determination of acidic contaminants in wastewater effluents.

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Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork, Ireland.


Acidic pesticide and pharmaceutical contaminants were pre-concentrated and extracted from wastewater samples (500 mL) using solid-phase extraction. Analyte recoveries were 79-96%, with % RSD values in the range, 1.7-7.4%. Analyte identification and quantification were carried out using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) with hybrid linear ion trap (LIT) Orbitrap instrumentation. Using a resolution setting of 30,000 FWHM, full-scan MS analysis was performed using heated electrospray ionization (HESI) in negative mode. The high mass resolution capabilities of the Orbitrap MS were exploited for the determination of trace contaminants allowing facile discrimination between analytes and matrix. The dependant scan functions of the Orbitrap MS using higher collisional dissociation (HCD) and LIT MS were evaluated for the confirmation of analytes at trace concentration levels. Mass accuracy for target contaminants using this method was less than 2 ppm. The limits of quantitation (LOQs) were in the range, 2.1-27 ng/L. The inter-day accuracy and precision were measured over a five-day period at two concentrations. The % relative errors were in the range, 0.30-7.7%, and the % RSD values were in the range, 1.5-5.5%. Using this method, 2,4-D, mecoprop, ibuprofen, naproxene and gemfibrozil were identified in several wastewater treatment plants in Ireland.

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