A novel two-dimensional liquid-chromatography method for online prediction of the toxicity of transformation products of benzophenones after water chlorination

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2015 Aug;407(20):6137-48. doi: 10.1007/s00216-015-8789-9. Epub 2015 Jun 6.


Benzophenone-type UV filters (BPs) are ubiquitous in the environment. Transformation products (TPs) of BPs with suspected toxicity are likely to be produced during disinfection of water by chlorination. To quickly predict the toxicity of TPs, in this study, a novel two-dimensional liquid-chromatography (2D-LC) method was established in which the objective of the first dimension was to separate the multiple components of the BPs sample after chlorination, using a reversed-phase liquid-chromatography mode. A biochromatographic system, i.e. bio-partitioning micellar chromatography with the polyoxyethylene (23) lauryl ether aqueous solution as the mobile phase, served as the second dimension to predict the toxicity of the fraction from the first dimension on the basis of the quantitative retention-activity relationships (QRARs) model. Six BPs, namely 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone, oxybenzone, 4-hydroxybenzophenone, 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone-5-sulfonic acid, 2,2'-dihydroxy-4,4'-dimethoxybenzophenone and 2,2'-dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone, were the target analytes subjected to chlorination. The products of these BPs after chlorination were directly injected to the 2D-LC system for analysis. The results indicated that most TPs may be less toxic than their parent chemicals, but some may be more toxic, and that intestinal toxicity of TPs may be more obvious than blood toxicity. The proposed method is time-saving, high-throughput, and reliable, and has great potential for predicting toxicity or bioactivity of unknown and/or known components in a complex sample. Graphical Abstract The scheme for the 2D-LC online prediction of toxicity of the transformation products of benzophenone-type UV filters after chlorination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benzophenones / isolation & purification*
  • Benzophenones / toxicity
  • Chromatography, Reverse-Phase / instrumentation*
  • Disinfection
  • Equipment Design
  • Halogenation
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Sunscreening Agents / isolation & purification*
  • Sunscreening Agents / toxicity
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Water / chemistry


  • 4,4'-dimethoxybenzophenone
  • Benzophenones
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • 4-hydroxybenzophenone
  • Water
  • oxybenzone
  • 4-methoxybenzophenone
  • 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone