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Full Professor in Environmental Analytical Chemistry
Université́ de Montré́al
Industrial Postdoctoral Fellow
Université́ de Montré́al
Phytronix Technologies Inc.
Strategic Marketing Specialist for Environmental and Food Safety
Thermo Fisher Scientific
The environmental fate and ecotoxicology of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) need to be prioritized due to their bioaccumulation potential as well as suspected detrimental effects on wildlife and humans. CECs consist of a wide range of compounds, including endocrine- disrupting chemicals (EDCs), personal and pharmaceutical care products (PPCPs) and drugs of abuse (DA) that have been shown to cause developmental and reproductive disorders in aquatic organisms. There is an urgent need to better understand the fate of CECs in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), since these facilities were not designed to efficiently remove CECs. Therefore, CECs are eventually released into the environment via WWTP effluents or bio-solids. Given the complexity of wastewater matrices, extensive sample clean-up and pre-concentration steps, as well as a sensitive detection method, are necessary to detect and quantitate CECs found at trace levels. In this work, an innovative method is reported for the quantification of 31 CECs from different chemical classes (EDCs, PPCPs and DA) in wastewater and suspended particulate matter, focusing on wastewater influent and effluent.
An optimized SPE procedure using a mixed-mode sorbent cartridge for the wastewater samples was used. The selected compounds of interest were analyzed in a single run, with two ionization modes being acquired simultaneously via positive/negative polarity switching using atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI). Analyte detection was performed using a high resolution, accurate mass - mass spectrometer, the Q-Exactive MS. The various acquisition modes tested were full scan MS; targeted selected ion monitoring (t-SIM) and targeted MS/MS mode (t-MS2).
Environmentally relevant method detection limits were obtained for wastewater samples, falling in the low ng L-1 range. The method was successfully applied to two sewage treatment plants from Quebec (Quebec, Canada), and has allowed the estimation of the removal efficiency of CECs in WWTPs.
- How WWTPs can serve as chemical observatories to understand the fate of chemicals and their bioaccumulation
- An optimized SPE procedure utilizing mixed-mode chromatography for sample analysis
- The utility of HRAM Orbitrap technology to estimate removal efficiency of CECs in WWTPs