Quantification of fullerene aggregate nC(60) in wastewater by high-performance liquid chromatography with UV-vis spectroscopic and mass spectrometric detection

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Journal Article

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Nanomaterial, Wastewater, C-60, Liquid-liquid extraction, Solid phase extraction, C60




This paper evaluates the performance of liquid-liquid extraction (LIE) and solid phase extraction (SPE) in separating and concentrating aqueous fullerene (nC(60)) from wastewater and compares UV-vis spectroscopy and mass spectrometry for the quantification of C-60. LIE was suitable for multiple wastewater matrices, while SPE required filtration or reclaimed wastewater and secondary effluent of less suspended solids. Calibration curves plotted as peak areas of UV absorbance at 332 nm against spiked nC(60) concentrations showed good linearity over a range of 20-2001 mu g L-1 after 10-fold concentration by LIE, but only over the range of 0.8-2 mu g L-1 for reclaimed wastewater and 0.8-4 mu g L-1 for secondary effluent after 1000-fold concentration by SPE. Recoveries of nC(60) by LIE were in the range of 89-94\% with a standard deviation (SD) not more than 2\% and recoveries of nC(60) by SPE were much lower, only 18\% for reclaimed wastewater and 9\% for secondary effluent. The method detection limits (MDLs) of LIE with UV-vis spectroscopy were 3-4 mu g L-1 for six water matrices and the MDLs of SPE with UV-vis spectroscopy were 0.42 mu g L-1 for reclaimed wastewater and 0.64 mu g L-1 for secondary effluent. UV-vis spectroscopy and mass spectrometry gave similar sensitivity. With LIE, mass spectrometry offered a small linear range of 20-60 mu g L-1, but it provided specificity based on the mass-to-charge ratios (m/z) of the molecular ions. This paper demonstrates the feasibility of the combination of different extraction and detection methods to quantify nC(60) in engineered wastewater matrices.

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