Simple and fast methods based on solid-phase extraction coupled to liquid chromatography with UV detection for the monitoring of caffeine in natural and waste waters as marker of anthropogenic impact

Two concentration methods for fast and routine determination of caffeine (using HPLC-UV detection) in surface, and wastewater are evaluated. Both methods are based on solid-phase extraction (SPE) concentration with octadecyl silica sorbents. A common “offline” SPE procedure shows that quantitative recovery of caffeine is obtained with 2 mL of an elution mixture solvent methanol-water containing at least 60% methanol. The method detection limit is 0.1 μg L−1 when percolating 1 L samples through the cartridge. The development of an “online” SPE method based on a mini-SPE column, containing 100 mg of the same sorbent, directly connected to the HPLC system allows the method detection limit to be decreased to 10 ng L−1 with a sample volume of 100 mL. The “offline” SPE method is applied to the analysis of caffeine in wastewater samples, whereas the “on-line” method is used for analysis in natural waters from streams receiving significant water intakes from local wastewater treatment plants ​
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