Oct 16 – 19, 2022
Europe/Zagreb timezone

Mira Petrovic

Multiresidue analysis of pharmaceuticals in water samples. Pitfalls and methodological challenges


Mira Petrovic, Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), Girona, Spain

In spite of apparent maturity of methods and protocols for the monitoring of pharmaceuticals in the environment, methodological challenges are still numerous. Main pitfalls that can lead to erroneous data and wrong interpretations are generally linked to the sampling strategy and representativeness of the samples, preservation of samples, stability of analytes in the sample, stability of standard solutions, possible losses of analytes due to sorption on the glassware and/or filter materials and matrix effects in MS detection; and each of these should be carefully studied and proper strategies to reduce the errors adopted. Many of these issues are not specific to the analysis of pharmaceuticals, but are common to environmental analysis of any trace organic micro-contaminant. Specificity of multiresidue analysis of pharmaceuticals lays in the diversity of chemical structures and physico-chemical properties of target compounds that may magnify some of the above mentioned pitfalls.

This work aims to discuss the main methodological challenges in the quantitative analysis of pharmaceuticals in environmental samples using multiresidue methods by pointing out to some potential issues and giving recommendations how to avoid them.


Short CV

Mira Petrovic was born in 1965 in Sarajevo, BiH. PhD in Chemistry (1995), Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of Zagreb, Croatia. From 1988 to 1999 at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of Zagreb, Croatia first as junior researcher, and later as assistant, senior assistant and assistant professor. From 1999-2011 research scientist at the Department of environmental chemistry, Institute for environmental assessment and water studies (IDAEA-CSIC), Barcelona. Since December 2005 ICREA Research Professor, first at IDAEA-CSIC and since July 2011 at the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), Girona, Spain, where she is the Head of Water Quality and Safety Area and responsible for the research line “Contaminants in water treatment”.

Her main expertise is in the field of analytical environmental chemistry, specifically chemical analysis of trace organic contaminants, such as pharmaceuticals, endocrine disrupting compounds and surfactants by advanced mass spectrometric techniques and the study of their fate and behaviour in the aquatic environment and during wastewater and drinking water treatment. Specific research lines are (i) study of biotic and abiotic transformation of emerging contaminants, identification of transformation products, elucidation of transformation pathways; (ii) study of occurrence and distribution of emerging contaminants in aquatic environment and environmental risk assessment and (iii) sustainable wastewater management; application of innovative wastewater treatment technologies; innovative practices for reuse of reclaimed waters.

She has participated in more than 30 EU projects since 1999 and over dozen national projects.  Prof Petrovic’s current H-index is 80, with > 19.000 citations. She is included in the ISI Highly Cited in the fields of Chemistry and Environment/Ecology and ranked in the top 1% by citations in 2018 in the field of Environment/Ecology and in 2019 in the cross-field by Clarivate Analytics.