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Determination of pharmaceuticals in wastewater

Grant number: 18/11700-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2018
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Sanitary Engineering
Principal Investigator:Paulo Clairmont Feitosa de Lima Gomes
Grantee:César Augusto Marasco Júnior
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/02147-0 - Single drop chromatography and its coupling to mass spectrometry: instrumental strategies, development of materials, automation and analytical applications, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):19/03385-7 - MRM-profiling: a new tool for detecting biomarkers, BE.EP.MS


The health appeared as the Brazilian federal government's priority in the middle of the 20 th century. Brazilian population has been increasing gradually, it has moved from rural areas to urban centers, where health and sanitation presented better conditions. Moreover, pharmaceutical industry has also been increasing concomitantly with the population, in order to supply the demand of medicines. These pharmaceuticals are important therapeutic agents, however their residues generated during productive process or present in human and animal excreta are persistent in wastewater. This subject aroused the scientific community attention since toxicological effects were observed in human and aquatic fauna and flora. There are unknown toxicological effects caused by pharmaceutical compounds present in wastewater. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the occurrence of such emerging contaminants in wastewater, even more when the population does not have access to the sewage treatment. In addition, wastewater treatment plants were not designed to remove emerging pollutants such as pharmaceutical compounds. Thus, it is necessary to develop reliable analytical methods to determine the pharmaceuticals in wastewaters samples. The liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has been the choice technique for detection and quantification of pharmaceuticals compounds present in wastewater samples at concentration level ranging from ¼g L-1 to ng L-1. Wastewater samples are complex requiring sample preparation. Solid-phase extraction (SPE) and/or restricted access media (RAM) are techniques of choice to pre-concentrate and extract these compounds. SPE and/or RAM in online mode is an alternative to reduce crossed contamination, allow analysis automation, and requires few steps minimal sample pre-treatment. (AU)

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