A simple and rapid method using reversed-phase liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) for the simultaneous determination of the urinary metabolites of benzene, toluene, xylene and styrene in human urine specimens and standard solutions is described. A hybrid quadrupole/time-of-flight (QqTOF) mass spectrometer was compared for the determination of metabolite of aromatic solvents in urine samples. The metabolites selected were: trans,trans-muconic acid, hippuric acid, o-, m- and p-methylhippuric acid and phenylglyoxylic acid. The compounds were well separated from each other on narrow-bore 1-mm i.d. reversed-phase LC C-18 columns. Average recoveries for loading 100 μL of urine samples varied from 88–110% and the quantification limits were less than 30 ng/mL for each analyte (3 ng/mL for trans,trans-muconic acid). The qualitative information obtained (mass accuracy, resolution and full-scan spectra) with the QqTOF mass spectrometer allows a secure identification of analytes in biological matrices. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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