Chiral veterinary medicines in the environment

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Funder: European Commission, Marie Curie Actions

Project No: 629015 (project details)

Marie Curie Postdoctoral IEF Fellow: Dr María Dolores Camacho-Muñoz

Dr María Dolores Camacho-Muñoz is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral IEF Fellow at the University of Bath since 2014. Originally from Spain she completed her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Seville (Spain) in 2013. She also obtained a Master of Science in Advanced studies in Chemistry (University of Seville) and a Master in Quality Management Systems (IMF Business School, Spain). Dr María Dolores Camacho-Muñoz is a co-author of 16 papers in international journals.

Summary: Veterinary pharmaceuticals are potent environmental contaminants. Research has been undertaken to understand their environmental fate and toxicity. However, one very important phenomenon has been overlooked and it is that more than half of the drugs currently in use are chiral compounds.

Chiral compounds exist in the form of enantiomers, which have similar physicochemical properties but they differ in their biological properties and, therefore, in their potency, toxicity and environmental fate. Because most studies on chiral pharmaceuticals do not explicitly account for individual stereoisomers, they implicitly and incorrectly assume that enantiomers have identical environmental behaviour. Furthermore, there is also a lack of information concerning enantioselective toxicity of chiral pharmaceuticals in the environment. This might lead to a significant under- or overestimation of their toxicity, as well as, an incorrect environmental risk assessment.

Trace analysis of pharmaceuticals in environmental samples is always challenging due to the complexity and diversity of sample matrices, and until today, only a few chiral analytical methods for environmental trace-level determinations have been developed. Most of them focused on a few pharmaceuticals, and none of them targeted veterinary pharmaceuticals of environmental relevance.

This proposal concerns: (i) the development and validation of methods for enantiomeric analysis of a group of chiral veterinary medicines of environmental relevance in environmental matrices using microextraction techniques and liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry, (ii) the study of their environmental fate and their toxicity effects towards different organisms and (iii) the evaluation of the environmental risk posed by these compounds.

Project objectives:

Objective 1: To develop and validate reliable multi-residue analytical methods for the quantification of chiral veterinary medicines in environmental matrices using microextraction techniques and determination by LC-MS/MS

Objective 2: To analyse enantiomers of chiral veterinary medicines and their metabolites in the aqueous environment to study their environmental fate and their toxicity effects towards different organisms from different trophic levels

Objective 3: To evaluate the environmental risk posed by these compounds

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