Benzalkonium chlorides (BACs) were successfully extracted from sediment samples using a new methodology based on accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) followed by an on-line cleanup step. The BACs were detected by liquid chromatography/ion trap mass spectrometry (LC/MS) or tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) using an electrospray interface operated in the positive ion mode. This methodology combines the high efficiency of extraction provided by a pressurized fluid and the high sensitivity offered by the ion trap MS/MS. The effects of solvent type and ASE operational variables, such as temperature and pressure, were evaluated. After optimization, a mixture of acetonitrile/water (6:4 or 7:3) was found to be most efficient for extracting BACs from the sediment samples. Extraction recoveries ranged from 95 to 105% for C12 and C14 homologues, respectively. Total method recoveries from fortified sediment samples, using a cleanup step followed by ASE, were 85% for C12BAC and 79% for C14-BAC. The methodology developed in this work provides detection limits in the subnanogram per gram range. Concentrations of BAC homologues ranged from 22 to 206 ??g/kg in sediment samples from different river sites downstream from wastewater treatment plants. The high affinity of BACs for soil suggests that BACs preferentially concentrate in sediment rather than in water.
Additional publication details
Accelerated solvent extraction followed by on-line solid-phase extraction coupled to ion trap LC/MS/MS for analysis of benzalkonium chlorides in sediment samples