Analysis of benzalkonium chloride in the effluent from European hospitals by solid-phase extraction and high-performance liquid chromatography with post-column ion-pairing and fluorescence detection

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Klaus Kümmerer
  • Andreas Eitel
  • Ulrich Braun
  • Peter Hubner
  • Franz D. Daschner
  • Georges Mascart
  • Milena Milandri
  • Franz Reinthaler
  • Jan Verhoef
A highly reproducible and specific method for the analysis of the quaternary ammonium compound, benzalkonium chloride, in effluents from European hospitals is presented. Benzalkonium chloride was extracted with end-capped RP-18 solid-phase cartridges and was selectively eluted. The resulting solution was analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). After elution from the analytical column of the HPLC system, 9,10-dimethoxyanthracene-2-sulfonate was added continuously as a fluorescence marker, forming a hydrophobic ion-pair with benzalkonium chloride. The ion-pair was analysed by fluorescence detection. The method was applied to highly complex effluent samples from different sized European hospitals. The measured concentrations were between 0.05 and 6.03 mg/l. The amounts emitted per bed and year were 4.5-362 g and did not correlate with the size of the hospital. The total amounts were 2.6-909 kg/year
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)281-286
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 11.07.1997
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Chemistry
  • Benzalkonium chloride, Derivatization, LC, Dimethoxyanthracene-2-sulfonate, Disinfectants, Fluorescence labelling, Hospital effluent, Quaternary ammonium compounds, Surfactants