A new electric-field driven extraction approach based on the integration of a bubbleless electrode into the electromembrane extraction (EME) across hollow polymer inclusion membranes (HPIMs) was demonstrated for the first time. The bubbleless electrode was prepared based on an in-situ synthesised polyacrylamide within a fused silica capillary. The electrode functions as a salt bridge, which conducts the electrical current between the acceptor phase in the lumen of the HPIM and the acceptor solution in the reservoir connected to a high voltage supply through a platinum electrode. Two types of HPIMs were employed, which consisted of desired proportions of cellulose acetate as base polymer, tris(2-ethylhexyl)phosphate as plasticizer, and di-(2-ethylhexyl)phosphoric acid as anionic carrier or Aliquat 336 as cationic carrier, respectively. The EME strategy was evaluated for the simultaneous determination of cationic quaternary ammonium and anionic chlorophenoxy acetic acid herbicides present in the river water, respectively. The analysis was carried out using capillary electrophoresis coupled with UV and contactless conductivity detection. Under the optimised conditions, enrichment factors in the range of 152-185-fold were obtained from 4mL of river water sample with a 20min extraction time and an applied voltage of 3000V. The proposed method provided good linearity with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.9982 to 0.9997 over a concentration range of 1-1000μg/L. The detection limits of the method for the herbicides were in the range of 0.3-0.4μg/L, with relative standard deviations of between 4.8% and 8.5%. The relative recoveries obtained when analysing the spiked river water ranged from 99.1% to 100%. A comparison was also made between the newly developed approach with the conventional EME setup by placing the platinum electrode directly in the lumen of the HPIMs.
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