Determination of gadolinium MRI contrast agents in fresh and oceanic waters of Australia employing micro-solid phase extraction, HILIC-ICP-MS and bandpass mass filtering
Gd-based contrast agents (GBCAs) are frequently administered to patients for magnetic resonance imaging to enhance tissue contrasts. After examination, they are excreted and enter surface waters via local wastewater treatment plants' effluents where they lead to anthropogenic Gd anomalies in the environment of metropolitan areas with developed healthcare. This work presents the speciation analysis of GBCAs in water samples from Australia by targeting individual GBCAs in effluent, river and seawater samples obtained from New South Wales (Sydney area), the Northern Territory (Alice Springs) and Victoria (Melbourne area). A method based on hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) coupled to inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) provided rapid separation and quantification of four common GBCAs in under three minutes. To improve the sensitivity, ion extraction and transport processes were optimised and the quadrupole mass filter was operated with an increased mass bandpass, decreasing limits of detection to between 18 and 24 ng L−1 for individual GBCAs. This allowed detection of Gd-DOTA, Gd-BT-DO3A and Gd-DTPA-BMA at concentrations of up to 160 ng L−1 in water samples collected from rivers within the proximity of effluents of local wastewater treatment plants. The analysis of GBCAs in oceanic sea water required the development of a novel automated micro-solid phase extraction (μSPE) method for matrix elimination and analyte pre-concentration enabling the detection of Gd-DOTA and Gd-BT-DO3A.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Young Analytical Scientists