A solid-phase extraction (SPE)-liquid chromatography (LC)-mass spectrometry (MS) method was developed to concentrate and detect nine cyanotoxins simultaneously, including six microcystins (MCs) congeners, nodularin (NOD), anatoxin-a (ATX) and cylindrospermopsin (CYN), in pure and natural waters. A dual cartridge SPE assembly was tested for the operating parameters of cyanotoxin extraction. A surrogate standard (SS), 1,9-diaminononane, was spiked in all the samples before the SPE extraction, and an internal standard (IS), 2,3,5-trimethylphenyl methyl carbamate, was spiked before LC/MS analysis. The method detection limit (MDL) was 2-100 ng/L for nine cyanotoxins in pure water and was increased by a factor of three to ten in a more complicated water matrix. The recoveries based on SS were between 83 and 104%, while those based on IS were 80-120%. The developed method was successfully employed in analyzing 33 water samples collected from eutrophic lakes, water treatment plants and distribution taps. MCs, NOD, and CYN were detected in the reservoir water, with concentrations as high as 36 μg/L. In addition, for the first time in Taiwan's tap water, CYN was detected at concentrations as high as 8.6 μg/L. Quality control data for the field samples shows that the analytical scheme developed is appropriate for monitoring cyanotoxins.
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