Liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometric analyses for the elucidation of the photodegradation products of triclosan in wastewater samples



Liquid chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC/TOFMS) was applied for the identification of four new photodegradation products of triclosan, a major antimicrobial agent used in personal care products. Wastewater samples, spiked at 7 μg/mL with triclosan, were irradiated with natural sunlight in order to generate the photodegradation products. Aliquots of the spiked water samples were taken at different times of irradiation and compounds were isolated from the water samples by solid-phase extraction. Separation and detection of the compounds and degradation products were accomplished by LC/TOFMS, which provided highly selective information about elemental compositions. Accurate mass measurements for the four degradation products permitted postulation of proposed empirical formulae in this study. Replacement of chlorine atoms by hydroxyl groups and chlorine losses are the major degradation pathways proposed. The degradation products were formed also under environmental conditions in wastewater matrices, thus suggesting their presence in real wastewater treatment processes. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.