Determination of selected quaternary ammonium compounds by liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry. Part I. Application to surface, waste and indirect discharge water samples in Austria

Environ Pollut. 2007 Jan;145(2):489-96. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2006.04.033. Epub 2006 Jul 10.


A method for simultaneous quantitative determination of alkyl benzyl, dialkyl and trialkyl quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) has been developed, validated and subsequently applied to real water samples in Austria. The method employs liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) followed by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), using electrospray ionization (ESI) in positive mode. The overall method quantification limits range from 4 to 19ng/L for the enrichment of 500mL water samples and analyte recoveries are between 80 and 99%. The method was applied to 62 of the respective water samples without filtration to avoid the loss of the analytes due to the high adsorption capacity of these compounds. Maxima in the mg/L range, especially in the wastewater of hospitals and laundries, could be detected for the selected target compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Austria
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Disinfectants / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Supply


  • Disinfectants
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical