Liquid phase micro-extraction of linear alkylbenzene sulfonate anionic surfactants in aqueous samples

Membranes (Basel). 2011 Oct 13;1(4):299-313. doi: 10.3390/membranes1040299.


Hollow fiber liquid phase micro-extraction (LPME) of linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS) from aqueous samples was studied. Ion pair extraction of C10, C11, C12 and C13 homologues was facilitated with trihexylamine as ion-pairing agent, using di-n-hexylether as solvent for the supported liquid membrane (SLM). Effects of extraction time, acceptor buffer concentration, stirring speed, sample volume, NaCl and humic acids were studied. At 10-50 µg L-1 linear R2-coefficients were 0.99 for C10 and C11 and 0.96 for C12. RSD was typically ~15%. Three observations were especially made. Firstly, LPME for these analytes was unusually slow with maximum enrichment observed after 15-24 h (depending on sample volume). Secondly, the enrichment depended on LAS sample concentration with 35-150 times enrichment below ~150 µg L-1 and 1850-4400 times enrichment at 1 mg L-1. Thirdly, lower homologues were enriched more than higher homologues at low sample concentrations, with reversed conditions at higher concentrations. These observations may be due to the fact that LAS and the amine counter ion themselves influence the mass transfer at the water-SLM interface. The observations on LPME of LAS may aid in LPME application to other compounds with surfactant properties or in surfactant enhanced membrane extraction of other compounds.