An analytical method useful for the quantification of a range of pesticides and pesticide degradation products associated with suspended sediments was developed by testing a variety of extraction and cleanup schemes. The final extraction and cleanup methods chosen for use are suitable for the quantification of the listed pesticides using gas chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry and the removal of interfering coextractable organic material found in suspended sediments. Methylene chloride extraction followed by Florisil cleanup proved most effective for separation of coextractives from the pesticide analytes. Removal of elemental sulfur was accomplished with tetrabutylammonium hydrogen sulfite. The suitability of the method for the analysis of a variety of pesticides was evaluated, and the method detection limits (MDLs) were determined (0.1-6.0 ng/g dry weight of sediment) for 21 compounds. Recovery of pesticides dried onto natural sediments averaged 63%. Analysis of duplicate San Joaquin River suspended-sediment samples demonstrated the utility of the method for environmental samples with variability between replicate analyses lower than between environmental samples. Eight of 21 pesticides measured were observed at concentrations ranging from the MDL to more than 80 ng/g dry weight of sediment and exhibited significant temporal variability. Sediment-associated pesticides, therefore, may contribute to the transport of pesticides through aquatic systems and should be studied separately from dissolved pesticides.
Additional publication details
Determination of pesticides associated with suspended sediments in the San Joaquin River, California, USA, using gas chromatography-ion trap mass spectrometry