IWA Publishing

Inter-laboratory validation of automated SPME-GC/MS for determination of pesticides in surface and ground water samples: sensitive and green alternative to liquid–liquid extraction

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An automated solid-phase microextraction gas chromatography/mass spectometry (SPME-GC/MS) method was developed for the determination of semi-volatile pesticides from several classes with a wide range of polarities in an environmental matrix, and validated according to the rigorous standards of a large commercial laboratory reporting data requiring regulatory acceptance with the purpose of being used as a standard test protocol. The target analytes showed a detection limit of 0.05–1 μg L−1, good calibration linearity (R2 > 0.99) with a wide linear range of 0.05–20 μg L−1, and accuracy in the range of 80–110 at three levels of calibration with relative standard deviation below 7% by commercial polydimethylsiloxane/divinylbenzene (PDMS/DVB) SPME fiber. An extensive study between SPME and liquid–liquid extraction as a reference US EPA method was performed from several analytical aspects including sensitivity, accuracy, repeatability, and greenness. The SPME method was validated through split blind analyses of 16 fortified surface and ground water samples within 4 months at Maxxam Analytics, the reference laboratory, and the University of Waterloo. Both methods were shown to be very accurate, with the highest frequency of results falling in the 70–130% accuracy range. The SPME method was shown to be more sensitive than the LLE, while requiring a lower volume of sample.

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