Identification of new transformation products during enzymatic treatment of tetracycline and erythromycin antibiotics at laboratory scale by an on-line turbulent flow liquid-chromatography coupled to a high resolution mass spectrometer LTQ-Orbitrap

This work describes the formation of transformation products (TPs) by the enzymatic degradation at laboratory scale of two highly consumed antibiotics: tetracycline (Tc) and erythromycin (ERY). The analysis of the samples was carried out by a fast and simple method based on the novel configuration of the on-line turbulent flow system coupled to a hybrid linear ion trap – high resolution mass spectrometer. The method was optimized and validated for the complete analysis of ERY, Tc and their transformation products within 10 min without any other sample manipulation. Furthermore, the applicability of the on-line procedure was evaluated for 25 additional antibiotics, covering a wide range of chemical classes in different environmental waters with satisfactory quality parameters. Degradation rates obtained for Tc by laccase enzyme and ERY by EreB esterase enzyme without the presence of mediators were ∼78% and ∼50%, respectively. Concerning the identification of TPs, three suspected compounds for Tc and five of ERY have been proposed. In the case of Tc, the tentative molecular formulas with errors mass within 2 ppm have been based on the hypothesis of dehydroxylation, (bi)demethylation and oxidation of the rings A and C as major reactions. In contrast, the major TP detected for ERY has been identified as the “dehydration ERY-A”, with the same molecular formula of its parent compound. In addition, the evaluation of the antibiotic activity of the samples along the enzymatic treatments showed a decrease around 100% in both cases ​
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