Enantiomeric profiling of chiral pharmacologically active compounds (PACs) in the environment has hardly been investigated. This manuscript describes, for the first time, a multi-residue enantioselective method for the analysis of human and veterinary chiral PACs and their main metabolites from different therapeutic groups in complex environmental samples such as wastewater and river water. Several analytes targeted in this paper have not been analysed in the environment at enantiomeric level before. These are aminorex, carboxyibuprofen, carprofen, cephalexin, 3-N-dechloroethylifosfamide, 10,11-dihydro-10-hydroxycarbamazepine, dihydroketoprofen, fenoprofen, fexofenadine, flurbiprofen, 2-hydroxyibuprofen, ifosfamide, indoprofen, mandelic acid, 2-phenylpropionic acid, praziquantel and tetramisole. The method is based on chiral liquid chromatography utilising a chiral α1-acid glycoprotein column and tandem mass spectrometry detection. Excellent chromatographic separation of enantiomers (Rs≥1.0) was achieved for chloramphenicol, fexofenadine, ifosfamide, naproxen, tetramisole, ibuprofen and their metabolites: aminorex and dihydroketoprofen (three of four enantiomers), and partial separation (Rs = 0.7–1.0) was achieved for ketoprofen, praziquantel and the following metabolites: 3-N-dechloroethylifosfamide and 10,11-dihydro-10-hydroxycarbamazepine. The overall performance of the method was satisfactory for most of the compounds targeted. Method detection limits were at low nanogram per litre for surface water and effluent wastewater. Method intra-day precision was on average under 20 % and sample pre-concentration using solid phase extraction yielded recoveries >70 % for most of the analytes. This novel, selective and sensitive method has been applied for the quantification of chiral PACs in surface water and effluent wastewater providing excellent enantioresolution of multicomponent mixtures in complex environmental samples. It will help with better understanding of the role of individual enantiomers in the environment and will enable more accurate environmental risk assessment.
- Acid glycoprotein
- Chiral analysis
- Surface water
- Veterinary and human pharmaceuticals