Liquid phase micro-extraction: Towards the green methodology for ultratrace metals determination in aquatic ecosystems
University of Cádiz. Department of Analytical Chemistry. Faculty of Marine and Environmental Sciences. República Saharaui s/n PC : 11510, Puerto Real, Spain
Heavy metals are normally found, in natural waters, in very low concentrations. Some of them are essential for life in low level; however, in higher level they are toxic. Therefore, analyzing their bio-available fraction is of main interest. Standard methodology is based in the collection of a number of samples from a water body. Collected samples must be stored, pre-treated and then analyzed. Pre-treatment usually involves pre-concentrating the metal, with the corresponding risk of contamination or loss of analyte. This way, punctual information is obtained from every sampling campaign. As an alternative, passive sampling techniques allow the continuous and coupled sampling-pre-treatment for heavy metals analysis, giving a better approach in the characterization of the studied water body. Liquid phase micro-extraction (LPME) is a green analytical alternative for liquid-liquid extraction that promotes a reduction of sample volume, solvent needed and waste generation. Using these systems, polypropylene hollow fibers (HF) with pores in their walls can be used. A few micro-liters of organic solvent are supported in the pores. The sample is placed in the outer part of the fiber and a receiving phase is placed in its inner part, allowing continuous liquid extraction of the metal from the sample. Several fibers with different physical features have been employed to analyzed total concentration and bio-availability of some heavy metals (Ag, Ni, Cu) in natural water samples. Thanks to fibers configuration, devices for passive sampling based in HF-LPME could be designed. Advantages of this methodology over existing ones are supported because the receiving phase is liquid. As a consequence, retained metals do not need to be eluted from the acceptor prior to instrumental analysis.
Key words: Heavy metals / liquid phase micro-extraction / speciation / passive sampling
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
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