Environmental sample extraction – improve quality and throughput

Prior to analysis, the extraction of environmental samples such as soils requires solvent extraction.

Contaminants such as PCBs, semivolatile organic compounds, and PAHs have traditionally been extracted using lengthy methods that also require large volumes of solvents.  A recent development – microwave assisted extraction (MAE) overcomes these limitations, resulting in rapid sample preparation with reduced amounts of solvents while working at higher temperatures and pressures.

The Milestone Ethos X microwave extraction system from Analytix can extract organic target compounds from soils in full compliance with EPA 3546 (100-115 °C and 50-150 psi). The system is capable of processing up to 24 samples and 30 g of sample per vessel simultaneously thereby improving the limit of quantitation (LOQ) for analysis. This results in the capacity to extract over 200 samples in an 8-hour workday and the potential problems of contamination, memory effects, and cleaning are eliminated due to the use of disposable glass vials.

The handling is very easy, the sample is weighed directly into the vial, hexane/acetone or dichloromethane/acetone (1:1) is added, and the vessel is loaded into the 24 place FastEX rotor that has contactless temperature control in all positions. After 10–20 min of microwave heating, the sample is ready to be filtered and analysed by GC or GCMS.

The use of disposable glass vials coupled with speed of extraction and reduced solvent consumption makes the Ethos X a unique and innovative solution for the extraction of contaminants from soils, providing unmatched ease of use and low running costs.

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