The fundamental question behind every analytical chemistry technique is “What’s in this sample?” It’s a simple question with a complex answer. There are thousands of analytical methods based on different matrices, analytes, and quantitation levels. However, before the analysis can even begin, the sample typically must undergo preparation.
Most solid or semisolid samples such as foodstuffs, soils, agricultural products, textiles, etc. are not suitable for analysis in their natural states and cannot simply be placed into an instrument for analysis without extensive sample preparation. Typically, a liquid extract is required.
Dionex (now part of Thermo Scientific Corporation) pioneered the development of Accelerated Solvent Extraction (ASE) technology where heated, pressurized solvent and specially designed sample cells are used to extract organic compounds from solid samples and prepare them for chromatographic analysis. The ASE technique replaces liquid extractions which typically require several hours and several hundred milliliters of solvent. For example, extraction of dioxins and furans from a paper sample may require up to 1000 mL of solvent such as dichloromethane and 2-3 hours of shake extraction using a separatory funnel while ASE technology can perform the exact same extraction in 10 minutes, using only 10 mL of solvent—this represents an approximate 90% savings of time and solvent over traditional extraction techniques! Another advantage of ASE technology is that you can use almost any type of solvent for your extraction—including water—depending on the compounds being extracted.
Check out this 2-minute video to see how an ASE system works.
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Here is a downloadable PDF for a sample ASE method for the simple, fast extraction of chlorinated pesticides from agricultural samples.
Interested in how ASE technology can help you increase your sample throughput? We invite you to send us your questions in the Comments box below.