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Abstract Title: Screening of pharmaceutical and other medicinal compounds within environmental samples
Presenter Name: Dr Ruth Godfery
Co-authors/Co-presenters: Geertje van Keulen
Claire Desbrow
Rachel Townsend
Company/Organisation: Swansea University
Country: United Kingdom

Abstract Information :

The persistence of organic pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, within the environment is a growing area of research. Until the introduction of current EU Directives the impact of drug emission into the environment through wastewater treatment was largely unconfirmed and unrestricted. Compounds with high octanol-water partition coefficient (Kow), like many common pharmaceuticals, are not biodegraded during wastewater treatment and can bioaccumulate through adsorption to soils and sludge. Typical disposal routes for wastewater sludge are landfill or deposition on agricultural land as a fertiliser. More stringent restrictions for landfill has meant an increasing amount of sludge waste is used as fertiliser and it is important to understand the extent of any chemical accumulation on land. Current legislation safeguarding landfill and the environment requires this monitoring with the Chemical Investigation Programme implemented as a UK-wide initiative. Existing protocols for wastewater samples (including sludge) can be laborious requiring significant resource and time. A 'Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe' (QuEChERS) protocol originally developed for foodstuffs has shown considerable promise in extracting a range of compounds from complex matrices of different chemistries. We have investigated this method using reversed-phase liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) for the extraction of a range of complex environmental samples developing an optimised protocol with reduced matrix interference and increased recovery of a broad selection of medicinal compounds.

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