Degradation of duloxetine: Identification of transformation products by UHPLC-ESI(+)-HRMS/MS, in silico toxicity and wastewater analysis

Rodrigo A. Osawa , Ana P. Carvalho , Olinda C. Monteiro , M. Conceição Oliveira , M. Helena Florêncio


Received December 05, 2018,Revised , Accepted February 25, 2019, Available online March 07, 2019

Volume 31,2019,Pages 113-123

Duloxetine (DUL), an antidepressant drug, has been detected in surface water and wastewater effluents, however, there is little information on the formation of its transformation products (TPs). In this work, hydrolysis, photodegradation (UV irradiation) and chlorination experiments were performed on spiked distillated water, under controlled experimental conditions to simulate abiotic processes that can occur in the environment and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Eleven TPs, nine from reaction with UV light and two from chlorine contact, were formed and detected by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry, and nine of them had their chemical structures elucidated upon analyses of their fragmentation patterns in MS/MS spectra. The formation and degradation of the TPs were observed. The parent compound was completely degraded after 30 min in photodegradation and after 24 hr in chlorination. Almost all TPs were completely degraded in the experiments. The ecotoxicity and mutagenicity of the TPs were predicted based on several in silico models and it was found that a few of these products presented more ecotoxicity than DUL itself and six TPs showed positive mutagenicity. Finally, wastewater samples were analyzed and DUL and one TP, possibly formed by chlorination process, were detected in the effluent, which showed that WWTP not only did not remove DUL, but also formed a TP.

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