Advanced analysis of (emerging) organic trace contaminants

Within the current legislative context regarding the monitoring of our aqueous bodies, a number of priority compounds are included in the European Water and Marine Strategy Framework Directives and in the Coordinated Environmental Monitoring Programme (CEMP) of the OSPAR commission. However, several other so-called emerging micropollutants are not regulated yet. So, new monitoring approaches need to include these emerging contaminants. Therefore, within NewSTHEPS, the research groups EnVOC and LCA focus on both the method development and application of quantitative monitoring of marine waters towards the presence of targeted emerging polar micropollutants, including pharmaceuticals, personal care products, polar pesticides, endocrine disrupting compounds and phthalates. Next, a qualitative screening of untargeted, non a-priori selected, (known and/or unknown) micropollutants and metabolites is foreseen. To this extent, advanced multi-residue methods using liquid-chromatography (LC) and high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS; Q-Exactive™, Thermo Fisher Scientific) will be developed and validated according to CD/2002/657/EC. The LC-part enables separation of a broad range of contaminants with different polarities and physical-chemical properties, whereas accurate mass measurements in full-scan HRMS facilitate rapid, robust and selective analysis for both quantitative and qualitative applications on the same samples.