A comparison of three analytical techniques for the measurement of steroidal estrogens in environmental water samples

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Journal Article
Talanta, 2009, 78 (3), pp. 1204 - 1210
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Research into the analysis and monitoring of steroidal estrogens has grown significantly over the last decade, resulting in the emergence of a range of applicable techniques. In this study, three popular techniques, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS-MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) for the analysis of three highly potent steroidal estrogens in the aquatic environment have been compared. It has been observed that overall, the three techniques appear comparable in generating similar estrogen concentrations for river and effluent samples. Of the three techniques, the GC-MS technique is the simplest to operate, but fails to detect the estrogens at the lower-end of environmentally relevant concentrations. The tandem MS techniques are more selective than MS, and therefore able to detect lower concentration levels of the three steroidal estrogens of interest. However, the LC-MS-MS technique is more susceptible to matrix interferences for the analysis of samples, resulting in a reduction of the signal-to-noise ratio and a subsequent reduction in reliability and stability compared to GC-MS-MS. With the GC-MS-MS technique offering increased selectivity, the lowest limits of detection, and no false positive identification, it is recommended to be the preferred analytical technique for routine analysis of estrogens in environmental water samples. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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