Optimization strategies of in-tube extraction (ITEX) methods
Microextraction techniques, especially dynamic techniques like in-tube extraction (ITEX), can require an extensive method optimization procedure. This work summarizes the experiences from several methods and gives recommendations for the setting of proper extraction conditions to minimize experimental effort. Therefore, the governing parameters of the extraction and injection stages are discussed. This includes the relative extraction efficiencies of 11 kinds of sorbent tubes, either commercially available or custom made, regarding 53 analytes from different classes of compounds. They cover aromatics, heterocyclic aromatics, halogenated hydrocarbons, fuel oxygenates, alcohols, esters, and aldehydes. The number of extraction strokes and the corresponding extraction flow, also in dependence of the expected analyte concentrations, are discussed as well as the interactions between sample and extraction phase temperature. The injection parameters cover two different injection methods. The first is intended for the analysis of highly volatile analytes and the second either for the analysis of lower volatile analytes or when the analytes can be re-focused by a cold trap. The desorption volume, the desorption temperature, and the desorption flow are compared, together with the suitability of both methods for analytes of varying volatilities. The results are summarized in a flow chart, which can be used to select favorable starting conditions for further method optimization.
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