Determination of steroidal oestrogens in tap water samples using solid-phase extraction on a molecularly imprinted polymer sorbent and quantification with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)



An analytical method was established and validated for the analysis of steroidal oestrogens in tap water samples. Gas chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (GC-HRMS) and gas chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) were used for the identification/quantification of selected compounds and the analytical performance of these techniques was evaluated. Liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) and solid-phase extraction (SPE) with a molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) stationary phase that was highly selective for oestrogens were used for the extraction of 100-mL aliquots of water samples. The recoveries of analytes with the described methods ranged from 92 to 114 %, while the repeatability in terms of relative standard deviations (RSDs) was in the range from 2.1 to 15.2 % (n = 5). It was concluded that SPE with MIP that was highly selective for oestrogens in combination with GC-HRMS detection is more preferable for the analysis of oestrogens in tap water samples. The typical oestrogen, 17β-estradiol (17β-E2), was detected above the method limit of quantification (m-LOQ) in 5 of 14 analysed tap water samples at concentrations from 0.09 to 0.15 ng L−1. Despite that 17α-ethynylestradiol (17α-EE2) was not quantified in this study above m-LOQ, the presence of this chemical was qualitatively confirmed in some of the analysed samples.


Steroidal oestrogens Solid-phase extraction Molecularly imprinted polymer Gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry Gas chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry 



This study has received funding from the project “Establishing of the scientific capacity for the management of pharmaceutical products residues in the environment of Latvia and Norway” co-financed by Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009–2014, Contract No. NFI/R/2014/010.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of LatviaRigaLatvia

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