Simultaneous determination of 44 pharmaceutically active compounds in water samples using solid-phase extraction coupled with ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

  • Ming XueEmail author
  • Haocheng Wu
  • Shaoying Liu
  • Xihui Huang
  • Quan Jin
  • Ren Ren
Research Paper


This study examines an improved and simplified method for solid-phase extraction (SPE), which offers rapid and accurate determination and identification of 44 pharmaceutically active compounds using ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). The common active compounds include four macrolides, seventeen sulfonamides, four quinolones, chloramphenicol, eight β-lactams, four tetracyclines, lincomycin, amantadine, 4-acetamidophenol, phenylbutazone, trimethoprim, clenbuterol, and hydrocortisone in water samples. We optimized crucial parameters of MS/MS, UPLC, and SPE and studied the matrix effect related to the modified analytical process from water samples. The matrix-matched calibration curves were accomplished at seven concentration levels and a satisfactory linear relationship (r2 > 0.994) was observed within the range of 0.1–500 ng/mL. Results show varying limits of detection (0.0111–0.966 ng/L for different analytes based on signal-to-noise (S/N) = 3) and limits of quantitation (0.0382–3.26 ng/L). Recoveries of the spiked samples ranged from 75.7 to 108% with relative standard deviation lower than 9.6%. The proposed method was successfully applied to the analysis of real samples.


Pharmaceutically active compounds Ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry Water Solid-phase extraction 



The authors would like to thank Fanxu Yang and Tao Xue for their kind help and useful scientific discussions.

Funding information

This work has been supported by Zhejiang Medical and Health Technology Project (2017KY131) and Hangzhou Science and Technology Development Project (20170533B72).

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ming Xue
    • 1
    Email author
  • Haocheng Wu
    • 2
  • Shaoying Liu
    • 1
  • Xihui Huang
    • 1
  • Quan Jin
    • 1
  • Ren Ren
    • 1
  1. 1.Hangzhou Center for Disease Control and PreventionZhejiangChina
  2. 2.Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and PreventionZhejiangChina

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