Fast determination of herbicides in waters by ultra-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry.Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2007; 21(22):3585-92.RC
A rapid multiresidue method for the analysis of more than 40 herbicides (such as simazine, terbuthylazine and diuron) in waters has been developed and validated by ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC/MS/MS). Prior to chromatographic determination, the samples were extracted using a solid-phase extraction procedure. The analysis was performed on an Acquity UPLC BEH C(18) column using a gradient elution profile and a mobile phase consisting of methanol and an aqueous solution of formic acid (0.01%). Other chromatographic and MS/MS parameters were optimised in order to improve selectivity and sensitivity of the analytes. The analytes were detected using electrospray ionisation (ESI)-MS/MS in positive ion mode with multiple reaction monitoring (MRM), optimising parameters such as voltage cone, capillary voltage, source and desolvation temperature, and desolvation and cone gas flow. The optimised method provides a rapid separation (less than 10 min) of the selected herbicides in the assayed matrices, and it was validated by the analysis of spiked blank matrix samples. Good linearity was obtained and the repeatability of the method was less than 20% for the lowest calibration point. The limits of detection ranged from 0.002 to 0.02 microg/L, and the limits of quantification from 0.005 to 0.05 microg/L, which were below the values specified by the European Union. Finally, the method was successfully applied to real environmental samples from Andalusia (southern Spain). Terbuthylazine, simazine, atrazine desisopropyl and desethyl terbuthylazine were the herbicides most frequently found in water samples.