The toxicity and bioaccumulation of organotin compounds (OTCs) led to the development of sensitive and selective analytical methods for their determination. In the past much attention was assigned to the study of OTCs in biological samples, water and sediments, coming mostly from marine environment. Little information about OTCs pollution of terrestrial ecosystems is available. In order to optimise the extraction method for simultaneous determination of butyl-, phenyl- and octyltin compounds in sewage sludge five different extractants (tetramethylammonium hydroxide, HCl in methanol, glacial acetic acid, mixture of acetic acid and methanol (3:1), and mixture of acetic acid, methanol and water (1:1:1)), the presence or not of a complexing agent (tropolone), and the use of different modes of extraction (mechanical stirring, microwave and ultrasonic assisted extraction) were tested. Extracted OTCs were derivatised with sodium tetraethylborate and determined by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometer. Quantitative extraction of butyl-, phenyl- and octyltin compounds was obtained by the use of glacial acetic acid as extractant and mechanical stirring for 16h or sonication for 30 min. The limits of detection and quantification for OTCs investigated in sewage sludge were in the ng S ng(-1) range.
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