Determination of ofloxacin, norfloxacin, and ciprofloxacin in sewage by selective solid-phase extraction, liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection, and liquid chromatography--tandem mass spectrometry.J Chromatogr A. 2007 Jan 12; 1139(1):45-52.JC
A solid-phase extraction (SPE) and liquid chromatographic (LC) method was developed for the determination of selected fluoroquinolone (FQ) drugs including ofloxacin, norfloxacin, and ciprofloxacin in municipal wastewater samples. Extraction of the FQs was carried out with a weak cation exchanger SPE cartridge, the Oasis WCX. The cartridge was washed with water and methanol as a cleanup before the FQs were eluted by a mixture of methanol, acetonitrile, and formic acid. Separation of the FQs was achieved by using a Zorbax SB-C8 column under isocratic condition at a flow rate of 0.2mL/min. Recoveries of the FQs in spiked final effluent samples were between 87 and 94% with a relative standard deviation of less than 6%. Several techniques have been evaluated for the detection of FQs in sewage extracts; they included fluorescence detection and electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectrometry using either mass-selective detection or tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). When they were applied to sewage influent and effluent samples, the LC-MS/MS technique operating in the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode proved to be best suited for the determination of FQs in sewage samples as it provided the highest sensitivity (limit of quantification 5ng/L) and selectivity. The observation of signal suppression (matrix effect) for some FQs in ESI LC-MS and LC-MS/MS is discussed and a solution is proposed. The three FQs were detected in all the sewage samples tested in this work, with median concentrations between 34 and 251ng/L.