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Forskningsartikel2021Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Development of a QuEChERS-based method for the analysis of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in lettuces grown in field-scale agricultural plots irrigated with reclaimed water

Sunyer-Caldu, Adria; Diaz-Cruz, M. Silvia


The use of reclaimed water for agricultural irrigation is an increasingly common practice, which recently has found its own European regulatory frame. However, the partial removal of organic contaminants together with other xenobiotic substances in current wastewater treatment plants leads to the occurrence of residues of such pollutants in the treated effluents. Wastewater reclamation techniques are thus required to provide reclaimed water fitting the minimum quality standards set up for irrigation of crops intended for human consumption. This work describes the development and validation of a simple QuEChERS-based extraction and liquid chromatography quadrupole-linear ion trap mass spectrometry (LC-QqLIT-MS/MS) method for the simultaneous quantitative analysis of 55 pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in lettuces irrigated with treated wastewater and reclaimed water. The method showed good recovery rates (80-120%) and low detection limits (0.04-0.8 ng/g dw). In comparison with previous analytical methodologies, this method was simpler, faster and, in most cases, more sensitive. Moreover, is the first one analysing selected personal care products in lettuces. The proposed method was applied to assess the potential transfer of contaminants of urban origin in the use of reclaimed water in agriculture. The case study consisted in the evaluation of the lettuce uptake of the selected contaminants at field scale under two irrigation systems, two soil compositions, and two water types. Benzophenone-2, 4-hydroxybenzophenone, 1H-benzotriazole, 2-(2-Benzotriazol-2-yl)-p-cresol, nalidixic acid, diclofenac, carbamazepine 10,11-epoxy, N-des-methylvenlafaxine, and salicylic acid were transferred to all samples. Highest detected values corresponded to 4-hydroxybenzophenone (84.1 ng/g dw), benzophenone-2 (54.4 ng/g dw), and salicylic acid (53.8 ng/g dw). The best combination to minimize the transfer of the target contaminants from the irrigation water to the lettuces was sprinkling irrigation with water reclaimed by soil infiltration through reactive barriers, and clayey soil.


PPCPs; Water reuse; Plant uptake; HPLC-MS/MS; Managed aquifer recharge; QuEChERS

Publicerad i

2021, Volym: 230, artikelnummer: 122302

    UKÄ forskningsämne

    Analytisk kemi

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