An alternative method for the determination of estrogens in surface water and wastewater treatment plant effluent using pre-column trimethylsilyl derivatization and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.
ABSTRACT A procedure using pre-column trimethylsilyl derivatization and gas chromatography/ mass spectrometry (GC/MS) was developed and applied in determining trace estrogens in complex matrix. Main conditions were optimized, including pH value, salinity of water sample, elution reagents, clean procedure, derivative solvent and temperature. The optimized method was used to determine steroid estrogens in surface water and effluents of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Low detection limits of 0.01, 0.03, 0.03, 0.07, 0.09 and 0.13 ng/l for DES, E1, E2, EE2, E3 and E(V), respectively were obtained under optimism condition. No apparent interferences appeared in chromatography in comparison with ultrapure water blank. Mean recovery ranged from 72.6% to 111.0% with relative standard deviation of 1.1-4.6% for spiked surface water, and from 66.6% to 121.1% with relative standard deviation of 1.5-4.7% for spiked effluent of WWTP. The results suggested that the optimized method provides a robust solution for the determination of trace steroid estrogens in complex matrix.