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Rapid determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in rainwater by liquid–liquid microextraction and LC with core-shell particles column and fluorescence detection


Correspondence: Professor Giuliana Vinci, Dipartimento di Management, Sapienza Università di Roma, Via del Castro Laurenziano, 9, 00161 Roma, Italia


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Liquid–liquid microextraction coupled to LC with fluorescence detection for the determination of Environmental Protection Agency's 16 priority pollutant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in rainwater has been developed. The optimization of the extraction method has involved several parameters, including the comparison between an ultrasonic bath and a magnetic stirrer as extractant apparatus, the choice of the extractant solvent, and the optimization of the extraction time. Liquid–liquid microextraction gave good results in terms of recoveries (from 73.6 to 102.8% in rainwater) and repeatability, with a very simple procedure and low solvent consumption. The reported chromatographic method uses a Core-Shell technology column, with particle size <3 μm instead of classical 5-μm particles column. The resulting backpressure was below 300 bar, allowing the use of a conventional HPLC system rather than the more expensive ultrahigh performance LC (UHPLC). An average decrease of 59% in run time and 75% in eluent consumption has been obtained, compared to classical HPLC methods, keeping good separation, sensitivity, and repeatability. The proposed conditions were successfully applied to the determinations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in genuine rainwater samples.