Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is a popular over-the-counter antihistaminic medication used for the treatment of allergies. After consumption, excretion, and subsequent discharge from wastewater treatment plants, it is possible that diphenhydramine will be found in environmental sediments due to its hydrophobicity (log P = 3.27). This work describes a methodology for the first unequivocal determination of diphenhydramine bound to environmental sediments. The drug is removed from the sediments by accelerated solvent extraction and then analyzed by liquid chromatography with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer and an ion trap mass spectrometer. This combination of techniques provided unequivocal identification and confirmation of diphenhydramine in two sediment samples. The accurate mass measurements of the protonated molecules were m/z 256.1703 and 256.1696 compared to the calculated mass of m/z 256.1701, resulting in errors of 0.8 and 2.3 ppm. This mass accuracy was sufficient to verify the elemental composition of diphenhydramine in each sample. Furthermore, accurate mass measurements of the primary fragment ion were obtained. This work is the first application of time-of-flight mass spectrometry for the identification of diphenhydramine and shows the accumulation of an over-the-counter medication in aquatic sediments at five different locations.
Additional publication details
Combination of LC/TOF-MS and LC/Ion Trap MS/MS for the Identification of Diphenhydramine in Sediment Samples