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Vacuum-assisted headspace-solid phase microextraction for determining volatile free fatty acids and phenols. Investigations on the effect of pressure on competitive adsorption phenomena in a multicomponent system

Trujillo-Rodríguez María J., Pino Verónica, Psyllaki Eleftheria, Anderson Jared L., Ayala Juan H., Giantzi Evaggelia, Afonso Ana M.

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Year 2017
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
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This work proposes a new vacuum headspace solid-phase microextraction (Vac-HSSPME) method combined to gas chromatography-flame ionization detection for the determination of free fatty acids (FFAs) and phenols. All target analytes of the multicomponent solution were volatiles but their low Henry's Law constants rendered them amenable to Vac-HSSPME. The ability of a new and easy to construct Vac-HSSPME sampler to maintain low-pressure conditions for extended sampling times was concurrently demonstrated. Vac-HSSPME and regular HSSPME methods were independently optimized and the results were compared at all times. The performances of four commercial SPME fibers and two polymeric ionic liquid (PIL)-based SPME fibers were evaluated and the best overall results were obtained with the adsorbent-type CAR/PDMS fiber. For the concentrations used here, competitive displacement became more intense for the smaller and more volatile analytes of the multi-component solution when lowering the sampling pressure. The extraction time profiles showed that Vac-HSSPME had a dramatic positive effect on extraction kinetics. The local maxima of adsorbed analytes recorded with Vac-HSSPME occurred faster, but were always lower than that with regular HSSPME due to the faster analyte-loading from the multicomponent solution. Increasing the sampling temperature during Vac-HSSPME reduced the extraction efficiency of smaller analytes due to the enhancement in water molecule collisions with the fiber. This effect was not recorded for the larger phenolic compounds. Based on the optimum values selected, Vac-HSSPME required a shorter extraction time and milder sampling conditions than regular HSSPME: 20 min and 35 °C for Vac-HSSPME versus 40 min and 45 °C for regular HSSPME. The performance of the optimized Vac-HSSPME and regular HSSPME procedures were assessed and Vac-HSSPME method proved to be more sensitive, with lower limits of detection (from 0.14 to 13 μg L−1), and better intra-day precision (relative standard deviations values < 10% at the lowest spiked level) than regular HSSPME for almost all target analytes. The proposed Vac-HSSPME method was successfully applied to quantify FFAs and phenols in milk and milk derivatives samples.