A new microextraction procedure termed agarose gel liquid phase microextraction (AG-LPME) combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was developed for the determination of selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in water. The technique utilized an agarose gel disc impregnated with the acceptor phase (1-octanol). The extraction procedure was performed by allowing the solvent-impregnated agarose gel disc to tumble freely in the stirred sample solution. After extraction, the agarose gel disc was removed and subjected to centrifugation to disrupt its framework and to release the impregnated solvent, which was subsequently withdrawn and injected into the GC-MS for analysis. Under optimized extraction conditions, the new method offered high enrichment factors (89-177), trace level LODs (9-14ngL(-1)) and efficient extraction with good relative recoveries in the range of 93.3-108.2% for spiked drinking water samples. AG-LPME did not exhibit any problems related to solvent dissolution, and it provided high extraction efficiencies that were comparable to those of hollow fiber liquid phase microextraction (HF-LPME) and significantly higher than those of agarose film liquid phase microextraction (AF-LPME). This technique employed a microextraction format and utilized an environmentally compatible solvent holder that supported the green chemistry concept.
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