Sample preservation for the analysis of antibiotics in water

This paper describes a stability study performed for 56 antibiotics belonging to 9 different groups - macrolides, tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, quinolones, penicillins, cephalosporines, lincosamides, sulfonamides and nitroimidazole antibiotics - in purified water samples fortified with the selected compounds at 10. ng/ml. For this purpose, three different sample preservation modes were tested with the aim of avoiding biotic and abiotic degradation: (i) storage at -20. °C, (ii) storage at -20. °C with 0.1% of EDTA and (iii) pre-concentration in a solid phase extraction cartridge (SPE), which was afterwards stored at -20. °C. Concentrations of antibiotics in the samples preserved using the different protocols were monitored after 0, 1, 2 and 12 weeks. The results showed that, for the accurate determination of all compounds they should be analyzed right after sampling. However, if this is not possible, most of the antibiotics can be analyzed within the 1st week after sampling and preservation at -20. °C (with or without EDTA) or in a SPE cartridges at -20. °C. Nonetheless, some antibiotics found extensively in the environment, such as sulfamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, erythromycin, azithromycin and clarithromycin exhibited low stability after 1 week preservation and, therefore, they should be analyzed within this time ​
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