Multiclass screening in urine by comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography time of flight mass spectrometry for residues of sulphonamides, beta-agonists and steroids

Blokland, M.H.; Zoontjes, P.W.; Ginkel, L.A. van; Schans, M.G.M. van de; Sterk, S.S.; Bovee, T.F.H.


Nowadays routine residue monitoring involves the analysis of many compounds from different classes, mainly in urine. In the past two decades, developments heavily focused on the use of mass spectrometers (MS) and faster and more sensitive MS detectors have reached the market. However, chromatographic separation (CS) was rather ignored and the cognate developments in CS were not in line. As a result, residue analysis did not improve to the extent anticipated. CS by LC x LC is a promising technique and will enable a further increase in the range of compounds and compound classes that can be detected in a single run. In the present study, a self-built LC x LC system, using a 10 port valve, was connected to a single quadrupole MS with electrospray interface. Standards containing a mixture of sulphonamides, β-agonists and (steroid) hormones, 53 compounds, in total, were analysed. Results demonstrated that these compounds were well separated and could be detected at low levels in urine, i.e. limit of detection (LOD) from 1 µg L−1 for most β-agonists to 10 µg L−1 for some sulphonamides and most hormones. To enhance the sensitivity, optimisation was performed on an advanced commercial LC x LC system connected to a full scan accurate MS. This ultimately resulted in a fast high throughput untargeted method, including a simple sample clean-up in a 96-well format, for the analysis of urine samples.