Mass spectrometric analysis of illicit drugs in wastewater and surface water

Sara Castiglioni, Ettore Zuccato, Chiara Chiabrando, Roberte Fanelli, Renzo Bagnatl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Residues of illicit drugs have been recently found in urban wastewater and surface water. Their levels reflect the amount of drugs collectively excreted by consumers and can therefore be used to estimate drug abuse. An overview of the most widely used illicit drugs and of the analytical methods used for their detection in wastewater and surface water is presented here. Solid-phase extraction and high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry are the techniques that have been used for these investigations. Instrumental conditions and fragmentation patterns of illicit drugs and their metabolites are described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-394
Number of pages17
JournalMass Spectrometry Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


  • Illicit drugs residues
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Surface water
  • Tandem mass spectrometry
  • Wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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