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Separations, Volume 5, Issue 3 (September 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) A new method, based on Headspace Gas Chromatography-Ion Mobility Spectrometry (HS-GC-IMS) in [...] Read more.
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Open AccessCommunication Developing a Method for the Collection and Analysis of Burnt Remains for the Detection and Identification of Ignitable Liquid Residues Using Body Bags, Dynamic Headspace Sampling, and TD-GC×GC-TOFMS
Separations 2018, 5(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030046
Received: 11 July 2018 / Revised: 11 August 2018 / Accepted: 30 August 2018 / Published: 17 September 2018
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Abstract
In cases of suspected arson, a body may be intentionally burnt to cause loss of life, dispose of remains, or conceal identification. A primary focus of a fire investigation, particularly involving human remains, is to establish the cause of the fire; this often
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In cases of suspected arson, a body may be intentionally burnt to cause loss of life, dispose of remains, or conceal identification. A primary focus of a fire investigation, particularly involving human remains, is to establish the cause of the fire; this often includes the forensic analysis of fire debris for the detection of ignitable liquid residues (ILRs). Commercial containers for the collection of fire debris evidence include metal cans, glass jars, and polymer/nylon bags of limited size. This presents a complication in cases where the fire debris consists of an intact, or partially intact, human cadaver. This study proposed the use of a body bag as an alternative sampling container. A method was developed and tested for the collection and analysis of ILRs from burnt porcine remains contained within a body bag using dynamic headspace sampling (using an Easy-VOC™ hand-held manually operated grab-sampler and stainless steel sorbent tubes containing Tenax TA) followed by thermal desorption comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TD-GC×GC-TOFMS). The results demonstrated that a body bag containing remains burnt with gasoline tested positive for the presence of gasoline, while blank body bag controls and a body bag containing remains burnt without gasoline tested negative. The proposed method permits the collection of headspace samples from burnt remains before the remains are removed from the crime scene, limiting the potential for contamination and the loss of volatiles during transit and storage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fire Debris Analysis)
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Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication Sampling Dynamics for Volatile Organic Compounds Using Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction Arrow for Microbiological Samples
Separations 2018, 5(3), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030045
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 21 August 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are monitored in numerous fields using several commercially-available sampling options. Sorbent-based sampling techniques, such as solid-phase microextraction (SPME), provide pre-concentration and focusing of VOCs prior to gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis. This study investigated the dynamics of SPME Arrow,
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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are monitored in numerous fields using several commercially-available sampling options. Sorbent-based sampling techniques, such as solid-phase microextraction (SPME), provide pre-concentration and focusing of VOCs prior to gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis. This study investigated the dynamics of SPME Arrow, which exhibits an increased sorbent phase volume and improved durability compared to traditional SPME fibers. A volatile reference mixture (VRM) and saturated alkanes mix (SAM) were used to investigate optimal parameters for microbiological VOC profiling in combination with GC–MS analysis. Fiber type, extraction time, desorption time, carryover, and reproducibility were characterized, in addition to a comparison with traditional SPME fibers. The developed method was then applied to longitudinal monitoring of Bacillus subtilis cultures, which represents a ubiquitous microbe in medical, forensic, and agricultural applications. The carbon wide range/polydimethylsiloxane (CWR/PDMS) fiber was found to be optimal for the range of expected VOCs in microbiological profiling, and a statistically significant increase in the majority of VOCs monitored was observed. B. subtilis cultures released a total of 25 VOCs of interest, across three different temporal trend categories (produced, consumed, and equilibrated). This work will assist in providing foundational data for the use of SPME Arrow in future microbiological applications. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Model Distribution Effects on Likelihood Ratios in Fire Debris Analysis
Separations 2018, 5(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030044
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 21 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
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Abstract
Computational models for determining the strength of fire debris evidence based on likelihood ratios (LR) were developed and validated against data sets derived from different distributions of ASTM E1618-14 designated ignitable liquid class and substrate pyrolysis contributions using in-silico generated data. The models
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Computational models for determining the strength of fire debris evidence based on likelihood ratios (LR) were developed and validated against data sets derived from different distributions of ASTM E1618-14 designated ignitable liquid class and substrate pyrolysis contributions using in-silico generated data. The models all perform well in cross validation against the distributions used to generate the model. However, a model generated based on data that does not contain representatives from all of the ASTM E1618-14 classes does not perform well in validation with data sets that contain representatives from the missing classes. A quadratic discriminant model based on a balanced data set (ignitable liquid versus substrate pyrolysis), with a uniform distribution of the ASTM E1618-14 classes, performed well (receiver operating characteristic area under the curve of 0.836) when tested against laboratory-developed casework-relevant samples of known ground truth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fire Debris Analysis)
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Open AccessArticle Detection and Characterization of Ignitable Liquid Residues in Forensic Fire Debris Samples by Comprehensive Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography
Separations 2018, 5(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030043
Received: 29 July 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 20 August 2018 / Published: 27 August 2018
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Abstract
This study covers an extensive experimental design that was developed for creating simulated fire debris samples under controlled conditions for the detection and identification of ignitable liquids (IL) residues. This design included 19 different substrates, 45 substrate combinations with and without ignitable liquids,
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This study covers an extensive experimental design that was developed for creating simulated fire debris samples under controlled conditions for the detection and identification of ignitable liquids (IL) residues. This design included 19 different substrates, 45 substrate combinations with and without ignitable liquids, and 45 different ILs from three classes (i.e., white spirit, gasoline, and lamp oil). Chemical analysis was performed with comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC-TOFMS) for improved separation and compound identification. The enhanced peak capacity offered by GC×GC-TOFMS allowed the use of a target compound list in combination with a simple binary decision model to arrive at quite acceptable results with respect to IL detection (89% true positive and 7% false positive rate) and classification (100% correct white spirit, 79% correct gasoline, and 77% correct lamp oil assignment). Although these results were obtained in a limited set of laboratory controlled fire experiments including only three IL classes, this study confirms the conclusions of other studies that GC×GC-TOFMS can be a powerful tool in the challenging task of forensic fire debris analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fire Debris Analysis)
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Open AccessArticle Heterogeneous Catalytic Ozonation of p-Chlorobenzoic Acid in Aqueous Solution by FeMnOOH and PET
Separations 2018, 5(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030042
Received: 21 May 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
The oxidation of p-chlorobenzoic acid (p-CBA), used as a typical-model refractory organic compound, in aqueous solutions during the heterogeneous catalytic ozonation treatment process by applying the hydrophilic tetravalent manganese feroxyhyte (TMFx), as well as modified hydrophobic TMFx and the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as
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The oxidation of p-chlorobenzoic acid (p-CBA), used as a typical-model refractory organic compound, in aqueous solutions during the heterogeneous catalytic ozonation treatment process by applying the hydrophilic tetravalent manganese feroxyhyte (TMFx), as well as modified hydrophobic TMFx and the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as solid (powdered) catalysts was examined in this study. TMFx was hydrophobically modified by using trichloromethylsilane (TriClMS) solutions in toluene at the concentration range 10–1000 mg/L. TMFx catalysts were characterized by the application of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), as well as by Brunauer-Emmet-Teller (BET) and surface charge density determinations. TMFx catalyst, which was modified by 50 mg/L trichloromethylsilane (TriClMS) solution (TMFx-50), was found to present the higher adsorption capacity of studied organic compound (250 μg p-CBA/g) when compared with all the other investigated catalysts, which in turn resulted in the higher removal of p-CBA (>99%) by the subsequent application of ozonation, as compared to hydrophilic TMFx (96.5%) and to single ozonation (96%) applications. PET-catalyst concentration in the range 0.5–10 g/L led to almost total removal of p-CBA within 15 min of reaction/oxidation time at pH 7. Conclusively, the experimental results for both catalysts indicated that hydrophobicity and adsorption capacity are crucial steps for the process of heterogeneous catalytic ozonation of refractory organic compounds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Application of Headspace Gas Chromatography-Ion Mobility Spectrometry for the Determination of Ignitable Liquids from Fire Debris
Separations 2018, 5(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030041
Received: 14 July 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
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Abstract
A fast and correct identification of ignitable liquid residues in fire debris investigation is of high importance in forensic research. Advanced fast analytical methods combined with chemometric tools are usually applied for these purposes. In the present study, the Headspace Gas Chromatography-Ion Mobility
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A fast and correct identification of ignitable liquid residues in fire debris investigation is of high importance in forensic research. Advanced fast analytical methods combined with chemometric tools are usually applied for these purposes. In the present study, the Headspace Gas Chromatography-Ion Mobility Spectrometry (HS-GC-IMS) combined with chemometrics is proposed as a promising technique for the identification of ignitable liquid residues in fire debris samples. Fire debris samples were created in the laboratory, according to the Destructive Distillation Method for Burning that is provided by the Bureau of Forensic Fire and Explosives. Four different substrates (pine wood, cork, paper, and cotton sheet) and four ignitable liquids of dissimilar composition (gasoline, diesel, ethanol, and paraffin) were used to create the fire debris. The Total Ion Current (TIC) Chromatogram combined with different chemometric tools (hierarchical cluster analysis and linear discriminant analysis) allowed for a full discrimination between samples that were burned with and without ignitable liquids. Additionally, a good identification (95% correct discrimination) for the specific ignitable liquid residues in the samples was achieved. Based on these results, the chromatographic data from HS-GC-IMS have been demonstrated to be very useful for the identification and discrimination of ignitable liquids residues. The main advantages of this approach vs. traditional methodology are that no sample manipulation or solvent is required; it is also faster, cheaper, and easy to use for routine analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fire Debris Analysis)
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Open AccessReview Fabric Phase Sorptive Extraction: Current State of the Art and Future Perspectives
Separations 2018, 5(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030040
Received: 8 July 2018 / Revised: 27 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
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Abstract
Fabric phase sorptive extraction (FPSE) is a novel and green sample preparation technique introduced in 2014. FPSE utilizes a natural or synthetic permeable and flexible fabric substrate chemically coated with a sol-gel organic-inorganic hybrid sorbent in the form of ultra-thin coating, which leads
[...] Read more.
Fabric phase sorptive extraction (FPSE) is a novel and green sample preparation technique introduced in 2014. FPSE utilizes a natural or synthetic permeable and flexible fabric substrate chemically coated with a sol-gel organic-inorganic hybrid sorbent in the form of ultra-thin coating, which leads to a fast and sensitive micro-extraction device. The flexible FPSE requires no modification of samples and allows direct extraction of analytes. Sol-gel sorbent-coated FPSE media possesses high chemical, solvent, and thermal stability due to the strong covalent bonding between the substrate and the sol-gel sorbent. Therefore, any elution solvent can be used in a small volume, which achieves a high pre-concentration factor without requiring any solvent evaporation and sample reconstitution step. Taking into consideration the complexity of the samples and the need of further minimization and automation, some new, alternative modes of the FPSE have also been developed. Therefore, FPSE has attracted the interest of the scientific community that deals with sample pre-treatment and has been successfully applied for the extraction and determination of many analytes in environmental samples as well as in food and biological samples. The objective of the current review is to present and classify the applications of FPSE according to different sample categories and to briefly show the progress, advantages, and the main principles of the proposed technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fabric Phase Sorptive Extraction)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Solvents and Extraction Methods on Recovery of Bioactive Compounds from Defatted Gac (Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng.) Seeds
Separations 2018, 5(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030039
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 23 July 2018 / Published: 30 July 2018
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Abstract
Gac (Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng.) seeds contain bioactive compounds with medicinal properties. This study aimed to determine a suitable solvent and extraction technique for recovery of important compounds, namely, trypsin inhibitors, saponins, and phenolics. The antioxidant capacity and total solids of derived extracts
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Gac (Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng.) seeds contain bioactive compounds with medicinal properties. This study aimed to determine a suitable solvent and extraction technique for recovery of important compounds, namely, trypsin inhibitors, saponins, and phenolics. The antioxidant capacity and total solids of derived extracts were also measured. Water with conventional extraction method gave the highest value of trypsin inhibitor activity (118.45 ± 4.90 mg trypsin g−1) while water-saturated n-butanol and methanol extracts were characterized by their highest content of saponins (40.75 ± 0.31 and 38.80 ± 2.82 mg AE g−1, respectively). Aqueous extract with microwave assistance achieved the highest phenolics (3.18 ± 0.04 mg GAE g−1). As a measure of antioxidant capacity, the 2,2′-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) diammonium salt (ABTS) assay gave highest value to the aqueous microwave extract (23.56 ± 0.82 μmol TE g−1) while the ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay gave highest values to water-saturated n-butanol and 70% ethanol extracts (5.25 ± 0.04 and 4.71 ± 0.39 μmol TE g−1, respectively). The total solids value was highest using water with microwave assistance (141.5 g kg−1) while ultrasound treatment did not improve any extractions. Therefore, trypsin inhibitors are suitably recovered using water while water-saturated n-butanol or methanol is for saponins, both using a conventional method. Microwave extraction is suitable for phenolics recovery. These conditions are recommended for an efficient recovery of bioactive compounds from defatted Gac seeds. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Supercritical Fluid Chromatography as a Technique to Fractionate High-Valued Compounds from Lipids
Separations 2018, 5(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030038
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
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Abstract
Natural products are in high demand these days due to rising awareness among consumers. Healthy diets, especially those in emerging markets, growth in populations with nutritional deficiencies, and supporting government regulations provide high growth opportunities for these compounds. However, extraction of high-valued compounds
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Natural products are in high demand these days due to rising awareness among consumers. Healthy diets, especially those in emerging markets, growth in populations with nutritional deficiencies, and supporting government regulations provide high growth opportunities for these compounds. However, extraction of high-valued compounds from natural sources is not an easy task. Natural products are complex matrices, with relevant compounds present in small amounts and often mixed with other compounds of similar structures. Most of the applications are related to the pharmaceutical sector, but interest in food and natural products is growing fast. Lipid and carbohydrate extracts are examples of starting materials employed to purify these relevant compounds. At the same time supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) is an emerging technique for preparative separation due to (1) use of supercritical fluids, commonly carbon dioxide, giving a large reduction in use of organic solvents; and (2) new hardware has been made commercially available recently that makes SFC a viable option. SFC fulfills high demands with respect to selectivity, versatility and sensibility. Fractionation or purification by SFC of high-valued compounds from natural sources is an interesting option, the relevance of which will increase in the future. This paper is a survey of trends and applications of SFC in the field of natural products purification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supercritical Fluid Extraction)
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Open AccessArticle NSAIDs Determination in Human Serum by GC-MS
Separations 2018, 5(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030037
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 4 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 16 July 2018
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Abstract
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are being widely consumed without medical prescription and are often the cause of intoxication, usually in young children. For this, there is a special need in their determination in routine toxicology analysis. As screening methods mainly focus on drugs
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Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are being widely consumed without medical prescription and are often the cause of intoxication, usually in young children. For this, there is a special need in their determination in routine toxicology analysis. As screening methods mainly focus on drugs of abuse (DOA) that are alkaline compounds in their majority, they are not optimized for acidic drugs, such as NSAIDs. Thus, more specific methods are needed for the detection and quantification of this class of drugs. In this study, the efficient extraction of NSAIDs from blood serum and their accurate determination is studied. Optimum pH extraction conditions were studied and thereafter different derivatization procedures for their detection. From the derivatization reagents used, N,O-Bis(trimethylsilyl)trifluoroacetamide (BSTFA) with 1% Trimethylchlorosilane (TMCS) was found to be the optimum choice for the majority of the examined NSAIDs; pH of 3.7 was selected as the most efficient for the extraction step. Herein the formation of the lactam of diclofenac was also thoroughly investigated. The developed Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) method had a run time of 15 min with the mass spectrometer operating in Electron Impact (EI) within the mass range of 40 to 500 amu. The method was linear with R2 above 0.991 and limits of quantitation (LOQ) ranging from 6 to 414 ng/mL. The intra-day accuracy and precision were found between 1.03%–9.79% and 88%–110%, respectively, and the inter-day accuracy and precision were between 1.87%–10.79% and 91%–113%. The optimum protocol was successfully applied to real clinical samples, where intoxication of NSAIDs was suspected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research as Development Perspective)
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Open AccessFeature PaperTechnical Note Method Development of Phosphorus and Boron Determination in Fertilizers by ICP-AES
Separations 2018, 5(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030036
Received: 14 May 2018 / Revised: 22 June 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
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Abstract
Simultaneous determination of phosphorus and boron in fertilizers was performed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Three different samples were analyzed, of which two were inorganic and one was of organic composition. Analysis of the samples was performed after heated acidic
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Simultaneous determination of phosphorus and boron in fertilizers was performed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Three different samples were analyzed, of which two were inorganic and one was of organic composition. Analysis of the samples was performed after heated acidic digestion to completely dissolve them, using two different acid mixtures. A solution of HCl + HNO3 was used to digest the inorganic fertilizers, and a solution of H2SO4 + HNO3 for the organic fertilizer. The spectral emission lines used were 213.617 nm and 214.917 nm for P and 249.772 nm, 249.677 nm and 208.957 nm for B. The detection and quantification limits for P were between 10–20 mg/kg and 40–80 mg/kg respectively, while for B they ranged between 10–30 mg/kg and 40–100 mg/kg respectively. The repeatability of the technique was found to be within the range 0.9–17.0% for P and 1.7–23.4% for B, expressed as relative standard deviation (RSD). The concentrations found by the proposed method are in good agreement with those reported on their package labels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research as Development Perspective)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Applications of Fabric Phase Sorptive Extraction to the Determination of Micropollutants in Liquid Samples
Separations 2018, 5(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030035
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 20 June 2018 / Published: 2 July 2018
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Abstract
The occurrence of organic micropollutants (OMPs) in the environment is a global concern due to their potential ecological risks. Several studies have shown that some OMPs are widely detected in environmental matrices such as surface water and sewage. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have
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The occurrence of organic micropollutants (OMPs) in the environment is a global concern due to their potential ecological risks. Several studies have shown that some OMPs are widely detected in environmental matrices such as surface water and sewage. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) have received international attention over past decades because they are considered the greatest source of aquatic environmental contamination by anthropogenic micropollutants. Intensive sampling and analysis have been globally made to improve understanding of the occurrence, behavior and fate of OMPs in WWTPs using different types of analytical approach. Recently, special awareness has been devoted to developing new effective strategies to extract the micropollutants of wastewater. In particular, microextraction protocols have gained popularity because of their simplicity, low cost and in-field application for environmental analysis. Among these, fabric phase sorptive extraction (FPSE) is reported as an excellent approach due to its properties, not only reducing the required time but also employing minor solvent volume. In this overview, we summarize the results obtained by the Research Group of Environmental Chemical Analysis of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) using this technique. Its aim is to show the potential of FPSE for the extraction of some micropollutants, such as personal care products (benzotriazole ultraviolet stabilizers (BUVSs)) and pharmaceuticals (steroid hormones and cytostatic compounds) in different liquid samples, prior to their determination by liquid chromatography. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fabric Phase Sorptive Extraction)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle On-Line Fabric Disk Sorptive Extraction via a Flow Preconcentration Platform Coupled with Atomic Absorption Spectrometry for the Determination of Essential and Toxic Elements in Biological Samples
Separations 2018, 5(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/separations5030034
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
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Abstract
Fabric phase sorptive extraction (FPSE) has gained notable attention and interest both in batch and automatic mode utilizing advanced sol-gel derived microextraction sorbents and the hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of fabric substrates. Recently, the innovative on-line fabric disk sorptive extraction (FDSE) has opened new opportunities
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Fabric phase sorptive extraction (FPSE) has gained notable attention and interest both in batch and automatic mode utilizing advanced sol-gel derived microextraction sorbents and the hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of fabric substrates. Recently, the innovative on-line fabric disk sorptive extraction (FDSE) has opened new opportunities in the field of automatic sample preparation (preconcentration/separation). A novel sol-gel sorbent based on caprolactone-dimethylsiloxane-caprolactone block polymer comprised of a non-polar dimethylsiloxane and hydrophilic caprolactone as a coating on hydrophobic polyester fabric substrate and its evaluation in an automatic FDSE system coupled with flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS), is presented for the first time. The capabilities of the proposed flow injection system were assessed for trace Cu(II), Ni(II), Zn(II), Pb(II), and Cd(II) determination in urine samples. The method was based on the on-line formation of target analytes with ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (APDC) and their retention onto the surface of the fabric disk medium. Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) was used to elute metal–APDC complexes directly into the nebulizer-burner system of FAAS. For 90 s of preconcentration time, enhancement factors of 250, 130, 185, and 36 and detection limits (3 s) of 0.15, 0.41, 1.62, and 0.49 μg L−1 were obtained for Cu(II), Ni(II), Pb(II), and Cd(II), respectively. For 30 s of preconcentration time, an enhancement factor of 49 and a detection limit of 0.12 μg L−1 was achieved for Zn(II) determination. The precision, expressed as relative standard deviation (RSD), was lower than 3.5% for all metals. The accuracy of the proposed method was sufficient and evaluated by analyzing certified reference materials and biological samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Fabric Phase Sorptive Extraction)
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