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Talanta. 2005 Jun 15;66(5):1272-80. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2005.01.046. Epub 2005 Feb 24.

Micro-focused ultrasonic solid-liquid extraction (muFUSLE) combined with HPLC and fluorescence detection for PAHs determination in sediments: optimization and linking with the analytical minimalism concept.

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  • 1Centro de Química Estrutural, Instituto Superior Técnico, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal.


Analytical minimalism is a concept that deals with the optimization of all stages of an analytical procedure so that it becomes less time, cost, sample, reagent and energy consuming. The guide-lines provided in the USEPA extraction method 3550B recommend the use of focused ultrasound (FU), i.e., probe sonication, for the solid-liquid extraction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, PAHs, but ignore the principle of analytical minimalism. The problems related with the dead sonication zones, often present when high volumes are sonicated with probe, are also not addressed. In this work, we demonstrate that successful extraction and quantification of PAHs from sediments can be done with low sample mass (0.125g), low reagent volume (4ml), short sonication time (3min) and low sonication amplitude (40%). Two variables are here particularly taken into account for total extraction: (i) the design of the extraction vessel and (ii) the solvent used to carry out the extraction. Results showed PAHs recoveries (EPA priority list) ranged between 77 and 101%, accounting for more than 95% for most of the PAHs here studied, as compared with the values obtained after soxhlet extraction. Taking into account the results reported in this work we recommend a revision of the EPA guidelines for PAHs extraction from solid matrices with focused ultrasound, so that these match the analytical minimalism concept.

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