Micelle assisted thin-film solid phase microextraction: a new approach for determination of quaternary ammonium compounds in environmental samples
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Determination of quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) often is considered to be a challenging undertaking owing to secondary interactions of the analytes’ permanently charged quaternary ammonium head or hydrophobic tail with the utilized lab-wares. Here, for the first time, a micelle assisted thin-film solid phase microextraction (TF-SPME) using a zwitterionic detergent 3-[(3-cholamidopropyl)dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulfonate (CHAPS) as a matrix modifier is introduced as a novel approach for in-laboratory sample preparation of the challenging compounds. The proposed micelle assisted thin-film solid phase microextraction (TF-SPME) method offers suppression/enhancement free electrospray ionization of analytes in mass spectrometric detection, minimal interaction of the micelles with the TF-SPME coating, and chromatographic stationary phase and analysis free of secondary interactions. Moreover, it was found that the matrix modifier has multiple functions; when its concentration is found below the critical micelle concentration (CMC), the matrix modifier primarily act as a surface deactivator; above its CMC, it acts as a stabilizer for QACs. Additionally, shorter equilibrium extraction times in the presence of the modifier demonstrated that micelles also assist in the transfer of analytes from the bulk of the sample to the surface of the coating. The developed micelle assisted TF-SPME protocol using the 96-blade system requires only 30 min of extraction and 15 min of desorption. Together with a conditioning step (15 min), the entire method is 60 min; considering the advantage of using the 96-blade system, if all the blades in the brush are used, the sample preparation time per sample is 0.63 min. Moreover, the recoveries for all analytes with the developed method were found to range within 80.2%- 97.3%; as such, this method can be considered an open bed solid phase extraction. The proposed method was successfully validated using real samples.