Target quantification of azole antifungals and retrospective screening of other emerging pollutants in wastewater effluent using UHPLC -QTOF-MS.

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Target quantification of azole antifungals and retrospective screening of other emerging pollutants in wastewater effluent using UHPLC -QTOF-MS.

Environ Pollut. 2019 Jul 16;253:655-666

Authors: Assress HA, Nyoni H, Mamba BB, Msagati TAM

Abstract
The information acquired by high resolution quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometry (QTOF-MS) allows target analysis as well as retrospective screening for the presence of suspect or unknown emerging pollutants which were not included in the target analysis. Targeted quantification of eight azole antifungal drugs in wastewater effluent as well as new and relatively simple retrospective suspect and non-target screening strategy for emerging pollutants using UHPLC-QTOF-MS is described in this work. More than 300 (parent compounds and transformation products) and 150 accurate masses were included in the retrospective suspect and non-target screening, respectively. Tentative identification of suspects and unknowns was based on accurate masses, peak intensity, blank subtraction, isotopic pattern (mSigma value), compound annotation using data bases such as KEGG and CHEBI, and fragmentation pattern interpretation. In the targeted analysis, clotrimazole, fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole and posaconazole were detected in the effluent wastewater sample, fluconazole being with highest average concentration (302.38 ng L-1). The retrospective screening resulted in the detection of 27 compounds that had not been included in the target analysis. The suspect compounds tentatively identified included atazanavir, citalopram, climbazole, bezafibrate estradiol, desmethylvenlafaxine, losartan carboxylic acid and cetirizine, of which citalopram, estradiol and cetirizine were confirmed using a standard. Carbamazepine, atrazine, efavirenz, lopinavir, fexofenadine and 5-methylbenzotriazole were among the compounds detected following the non-targeted screening approach, of which carbamazepine was confirmed using a standard. Given the detection of the target antifungals in the effluent, the findings are a call for a wide assessment of their occurrence in aquatic environments and their role in ecotoxicology as well as in selection of drug resistant fungi. The findings of this work further highlights the practical benefits obtained for the identification of a broader range of emerging pollutants in the environment when retrospective screening is applied to high resolution and high accuracy mass spectrometric data.

PMID: 31330357 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]