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Multi-residue enantioselective analysis of chiral drugs in freshwater sediments.

Eaglesham, Abbey; Scott, Arron; Petrie, Bruce


Abbey Eaglesham

Arron Scott


Pharmaceutical and illicit drugs are emerging contaminants found in the environment globally. Many are chiral and stereochemistry plays an important role on their environmental fate and effects. However, investigations at the enantiomeric level are limited, particularly for complex particulate matrices such as sediments. This is due to further sample processing requirements and a lack of suitable analytical methods. Therefore, here a new enantioselective methodology is proposed for 15 drugs in sediment. Sample treatment by accelerated solvent extraction and solid phase extraction was critical for subsequent enantioselective separations. Using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry, a Chiral-V enantioselective column enabled multi-residue separations of anti-depressants, beta-blockers, beta-agonist, anti-histamine and stimulants. Method trueness for all enantiomers was 86–121% and method quantitation limits were below 3 ng g−1 dry weight. Application of the method revealed the enantiomeric composition of fluoxetine, amphetamine, propranolol, venlafaxine and citalopram in sediment for the first time. All drugs except venlafaxine were present in non-racemic form, i.e. unequal enantiomer concentrations. This is significant considering drug toxicity towards benthic organisms could be enantiospecific.


EAGLESHAM, A., SCOTT, A. and PETRIE, B. 2020. Multi-residue enantioselective analysis of chiral drugs in freshwater sediments. Environmental chemistry letters [online], 18(6), pages 2119-2126. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 17, 2020
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2020
Publication Date Nov 30, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 3, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 3, 2020
Journal Environmental chemistry letters
Print ISSN 1610-3653
Electronic ISSN 1610-3661
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 6
Pages 2119-2126
Keywords Vancomycin; Metabolite; Septic tank; Sewage; Wastewater; River; Sediment analysis; Freshwater sediments; Chiral drugs; Enantioselective analysis
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