Automated Solid Phase Extraction of Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products from Water Samples using a Novel Robotic Autosampler

Drinking Water
Poster Presentation

Prepared by F. Foster, K. Thaxton
GERSTEL, Inc., 701 Digital Drive, Suite H, Linthicum, MD, 21090, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 410-204-7255


The US Environmental Protection Agency’ s (EPA) method 542 was created to monitor drinking water samples for the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP) using LC-MS/MS. The method requires an extraction volume of one liter of water to meet the parts per trillion (ng/L) reporting limits for the compounds monitored. The large sample volume as well as the requirement to present the subsequent rinsate of the sample bottles to the SPE cartridge, has historically made this method a tedious, manual procedure. Using the LCTech FREESTYLE XANA sampler, the entire solid phase extraction procedure is automated, providing critically needed high throughput extraction for PPCP compounds in water samples. The resulting extracts are then introduced into an LC-MS/MS system such as the Agilent Ultivo LC-MS/MS instrument for detection and quantification.

Previous work has shown the LCTech FREESTYLE XANA sampler to successfully provide extracts for the determination of a variety of contaminants including perfluorinated compounds from large volume water samples by LC-MS/MS as regulated by the EPA method 537.1. As a result of this study, we were able to show that automated SPE performed by the LCTech FREESTYLE XANA sampler could successfully be used to provide extracts for the determination of PPCP from water samples according to the regulated EPA method 542. PPCP compounds isolated from the water samples using the automated extraction procedure were introduced to an Agilent Technologies 1260 HPLC coupled with an Agilent Ultivo Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer with Jet stream electrospray source. The recovery of the PPCP compounds when extracted from water samples was found to average 109% for all PPCP compounds. Accuracy data averaged 110% (range: 72.7% - 125%) and precision data averaged 2.31% RSD (range: 1.14% - 6.73%) for all PPCP compounds extracted from water samples.