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Sampling, analysis and fate assessment of pharmaceutical pollutants in the aquatic environment

By Nicola Broodbank


Pharmaceutical drugs are widely used, yet their consequences and longevity in the environment following consumption are rarely discussed. Knowledge on the fate of these compounds within different matrices in the environment is inadequate and needs to be further improved in order to determine their concentrations and associated risks.\ud \ud The determination and quantification of these compounds in water samples is already widely conducted using filtration, solid-phase extraction (SPE) and nitrogen blow-down followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). However, a method with a high degree of accuracy and reproducibility is yet to be obtained for sediment samples due to matrix complexity. Using strategically planned spot-sampling and the development of a new and optimized determination and quantification method, the analysis of sediments from the River Ouse (Sussex, UK) and River Medway (Kent, UK), allowed for the simultaneous quantification of nine target pharmaceutical compounds using ultrasonication followed by SPE, nitrogen blow-down and LC-MS/MS. Variables investigated were extraction method, solvent, sample mass and clean-up procedure; these allowed for the optimization of method development. Following these, spatial and temporal reports were concluded. Monitoring the River Medway between December 2009 and June 2010 showed stable yet high levels of pharmaceuticals in comparison to studies conducted globally. Concentrations increased the further through the year with June 2009 being the overall highest.\ud \ud The method was further applied to biological matrices with excellent results. The determination of pharmaceutical compounds was extended to environmental samples from China as part of a collaboration project. It is expected that the method will be successfully used for future experimentation and analysis. Diclofenac and meclofenamic acid is overall the compound with the highest concentrations, compared to sulfamethaxazole and thioridazine which are the lowest

Topics: RM, TD0172
Year: 2012
OAI identifier:

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