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Development and application of an analytical method for the determination of partition coefficients of tributyltin in the Forth and Clyde canal, Glasgow, Scotland

Bangkedphol, S. and Keenan, H.E. and Davidson, C.M. and Dyer, M. and Sakultantimetha, A. and Songsasen, A. (2009) Development and application of an analytical method for the determination of partition coefficients of tributyltin in the Forth and Clyde canal, Glasgow, Scotland. Journal of ASTM International, 6 (7). pp. 1-13. ISSN 1546-962X

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Abstract

Tributyltin (TBT) was widely used in the past as a biocide for boats. This has led to widespread environmental contamination. Most analytical methods are based on high resolution techniques with complicated sample preparation. For this study, a simple application of an analytical method was developed using HPLC/UV. The developed method was studied to determine TBT, dibutyltin, and monobutyltin in sediment and water samples. The separation was performed in isocratic mode on a cyanopropyl column with a mobile phase of hexane containing 5 % tetrahydrofuran and 0.03 % acetic acid. This method was confirmed using standard GC-MS techniques and verified by statistical paired t-test method. Under the experimental conditions used, the limit of detection of TBT and DBT were 0.70 and 0.50 ppm, respectively. An optimized extraction method for butyltins in water and sediment samples was developed by using hexane containing 0.05 %-0.5 % tropolone, and 0.2 % sodium chloride in water at pH1.7. The quantitative extraction of butyltin compounds in a certified reference material (BCR-646) and naturally contaminated samples was achieved with recoveries ranging from 95 % to 108 % and precision of 0.02 %-1.00 % relative standard deviation. This developed method was used to determine the contamination level of butyltins in environmental samples collected from the Forth and Clyde canal, Scotland, United Kingdom. The values obtained exceeded the Environmental Quality Standard values. Partition coefficients are major parameters influencing the behavior of pollutants, therefore the methodology developed was used to determine experimentally the partition coefficients Koc, Kd, and Kow. The comparison between values obtained experimentally and computational default model values (EPI Suite V 3.20) showed disparity. In terms of bioaccumulation, the implications of this finding may lead to greater biomagnification in the food chain.