Speaker at Pharmaceutics and Novel Drug Delivery Systems 2023 - Andreia Freitas
INIAV and REQUIMTE, Portugal
Title : Multi-detection of pharmaceutical contamination in environment


The constant release of veterinary and human pharmaceutical drugs as active compounds or metabolites to the environment can result in the presence of undesirable contaminants in the ecosystems. Such anthropogenic contaminants can be discharged into the environment through wastewater treatment plants, overflows from intensive food animal production or even by the use of uncontrolled manure in agriculture crops. Nowadays, pharmaceutical drugs are considered to be emerging pollutants of global concern due to the undesirable negative effects that can cause to humans, animals and environmental health, from a One Health perspective. One of the major examples of the negative consequences is related to the development and spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria strains which can be correlated with the excessive and reckless use of antibiotics. To analyze and quantify the occurrence of those anthropogenic contaminants, environmental matrices, such as water, algae and sediments can be used as contaminant bioindicators. The described matrices were selected as matrices of choice to evaluate the levels and principal sources of contaminations. The analytical strategy relies on the use of multi-detection and multi-class methods, based on ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with a high-resolution mass spectrometry detector, time-of-flight. The methods developed were validated to access the presence of pharmaceutical compounds in water, algae and sediments. Those analytical tools are able to detect and quantify more than Sixty compounds from various family drugs, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, psychiatric, antidepressants and anticonvulsants drugs, which can be detected and quantified using the presented methods. The validation parameters, the limit of detection (LoD), the limit of quantification (LoQ), precision, recovery, linearity, selectivity and specificity were studied, and the applicability of the methods was proved.

Audience Take Away Notes:

  • Understand the problematic of excessive use of pharmaceuticals
  • Provide knowledge about the analytical advantages that can be used to control environmental contamination
  • Present validation of analytical methods to analyze pharmaceutical drugs in different matrices


Andreia Freitas studied Chemistry at the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Lisbon, and graduated an MS, in Analytical Chemistry (2008) at the same institution. She received her PhD degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences (2015), a specialty in Bromatology and Hydrology at the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra. With more than 18 years of experience, she is currently a researcher in the field of Food Safety specially in the area of veterinary drug residues analysis and contaminants in food of animal origin in the Nacional Institute of Agrarian and Veterinary Research (INIAV) in the National Reference Laboratory for Food Safety.