Rapid method for determination of glyphosate in groundwater using high performance liquid chromatography and solid-phase extraction after derivatization

The intensive use of pesticides in agriculture has prompted researchers to develop new methods for identifying these pollutants in water. This study sought to validate a high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method to determine the concentration of the pesticide glyphosate in groundwater samples by using solid-phase extraction (SPE) filters after derivatization with chloroformate 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl (FMOC-Cl). For the HPLC method, we evaluated the following main validation parameters: linearity, specificity, precision, accuracy, robustness, and limits of detection and quantification. After validation of the method, we determined the concentration of glyphosate in samples from thirteen deep, tubular wells distributed in urban and rural areas in Chapecó, SC, Brazil. The solvent used in the extraction of excess FMOC-Cl was dichloromethane and subsequently filtration was performed on C18 SPE, and injected into the chromatograph column in amino polymer with fluorescence detection. The analytical curve made in ultrapure water was linear, with a correlation coefficient of 0.99. The limits of detection and quantification were 0.24 and 0.07 µg L-1, respectively. Recovery tests in natural waters ranged from 90.37 to 101.70%. Glyphosate was detected in 5 of the thirteen wells evaluated. The highest concentration of glyphosate (6.80 µg L-1) was detected in a countryside well, near the municipal water supply. Despite the low levels of glyphosate detected in our study, any amount present in groundwater samples is worrisome, as these molecules have low ground mobility.