Is SPE necessary for environmental analysis? A quantitative comparison of matrix effects from large-volume injection and solid-phase extraction based methods.

Research paper by Will J WJ Backe, Jennifer A JA Field

Indexed on: 26 May '12Published on: 26 May '12Published in: Environmental Science & Technology


Environmental analysis by large-volume injection (LVI) was compared to solid-phase extraction (SPE) based methods using matrix effects as a quantitative indicator of analytical signal quality. LVI was performed by the direct injection of 900 μL of wastewater onto a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) column while SPE-based methods utilized octadecyl silane (C18) and hydrophobic-lypophilic balance (HLB) solid phases to preconcentrate wastewater prior to analysis. Model analytes from three classes of environmental contaminants were selected for study including four estrogens (estrone, estradiol, estriol, and ethinylestradiol), eight perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (C4-C11), and five perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (C4, C6-C8, and C10). The matrix effects on analytes were assessed by two approaches (quantitatively by calculating percent matrix effects and qualitatively with postcolumn infusions) and compared across LVI- and SPE-based methods at constant (high and low) analyte-to-matrix mass ratios. The results from this study demonstrated that the LVI-based method produced analytical signals of quality similar to the two SPE-based methods. Furthermore, LVI presented a clear advantage over SPE because it was performed at lower cost, required fewer materials, involved less labor and eliminated the analyte loss associated with SPE.