Development of an analytical method to quantify pharmaceuticals in fish tissues by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry detection and application to environmental samples

2020, Journals

Boulard, Lise; Parrhysius, Pia; Jacobs, Björn; Dierkes, Georg; Wick, Arne; Buchmeier, Georgia; Koschorreck, Jan; Ternes, Thomas A.
Journal of Chromatography A 10633 (2020), 461612; online 12 October 2020


A sensitive multiresidue method was developed to quantify 35 pharmaceuticals and 28 metabolites/transformation products (TPs) in fish liver, fish fillet and fish plasma via LC-MS/MS. The method was designed to cover a broad range of substance polarities. This objective was realized by using non-discriminating sample clean-ups including separation technique based on size exclusion, namely restricted access media (RAM) chromatography. This universal clean-up allows for an easy integration of further organic micropollutants into the analytical method. Limits of quantification (LOQ) ranged from 0.05 to 5.5 ng/mL in fish plasma, from 0.1 to 19 ng/g d.w. (dry weight) in fish fillet and from 0.46 to 48 ng/g d.w. in fish liver. The method was applied for the analysis of fillets and livers of breams from the rivers Rhine and Saar, the Teltow Canal as well as carps kept in fish monitoring ponds fed by effluent from municipal wastewater treatment plants. This allowed for the first detection of 17 analytes including 10 metabolites/TPs such as gabapentin lactam and norlidocaine in fish tissues. These results highlight the importance of including metabolites and transformation products of pharmaceuticals in fish monitoring campaigns and further investigating their potential effects.

doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2020.461612