Evaluation of pre-analysis loss of dependent drugs in wastewater: stability and binding assessments

Chang Chen, Chris Kostakis, Rodney Irvine, Peter Felgate, Jason White

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Wastewater analysis has the potential to provide objective and timely data on population drug consumption, but some crucial factors such as pre-analysis drug loss during sample storage and filtration could affect the accuracy and reliability of the method, and these uncertainties have yet to be fully assessed. This study was designed to evaluate analyte stability in wastewater stored under different conditions with the aim of optimizing the sample storage procedures for future studies. It also investigated whether there is significant analyte loss during filtration before sample extraction and storage after that. The studied substances and metabolites were: cotinine, cocaine and its metabolite benzoylecgonine, phenethylamines amphetamine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), opioids including codeine, methadone, 6-monoacetylmorphine (MAM) and morphine. In most situations, storing samples at 4°C is sufficient to stabilize analytes for at least 2weeks, and refrigeration is unnecessary during sample transportation within 3days. However, additional measures need to be taken if unstable analytes such as cocaine and MAM are to be analyzed. No significant analyte loss was observed in the filtration process or in reconstituted extract stored at 4°C or -20°C for 2weeks. By choosing stable analytes and proper storage conditions, wastewater analysis has the potential to provide accurate data for estimation of community drug use.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)716-721
    Number of pages6
    JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


    • Binding
    • Drug
    • LC-MS/MS
    • Stability
    • Wastewater


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