Nowadays, there is a growing need for applications in food and environmental areas able to cope with the analysis of a large number of analytes in very complex matrices . The new analytical procedures demand sensitivity, robustness, effectiveness and high resolution with reduced analysis time. Many of these requirements may be met to a certain extent by the total or partial automation of the conventional analytical methods, including sample preparation or sample pre-treatment coupled on-line to the analytical system. Furthermore, the recent use of ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) for environmental and food chemical analysis has increased the overall sample throughput and laboratory efficiency without loss (and even with an improvement) of resolution obtained by conventional HPLC systems. Nonetheless, despite the advances in chromatographic separations and mass spectrometry techniques, sample treatment is still one of the most important parts of the analytical process and effective sample preparation is essential for achieving good analytical results . Ideal sample preparation methods should be fast, accurate, precise and must keep sample integrity. Therefore, over the last years, considerable efforts have been made to develop modern approaches in sample treatment techniques that enable the reduction of the analysis time without compromising the integrity of the extraction process. The use of on-line solid-phase extraction (SPE), which minimizes sample manipulation and provides both high pre-concentration factors and recoveries [2-5], is an increasingly powerful and rapid technique used to improve the sample throughput and overcome many of the limitations associated with the classical off-line SPE procedure. However, in most of the cases, matrix related compounds may also be co-extracted and could interfere in the analysis. Consequently, in order to minimize the effect of all these possible interferences a selective clean-up step may be required. Higher specificity and selectivity together with satisfactory extraction efficiency can be obtained using sorbents based on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) [6-8]. Solid-phase extraction (SPE) based on MIPs is a highly attractive and promising approach for matrix clean-up, enrichment and selective extraction of analytes in such kind of complex samples. Another modern trend in sample preparation for multi-residue applications is the use of the QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged and Safe) method. The QuEChERS method is a recent and fascinating alternative procedure that has become particularly popular for the multi-residue analysis of pesticides in various food matrices [9,10], although this methodology is also being successfully employed for the extraction of other families of compounds [11,12]. Recently, the use of turbulent-flow chromatography (TFC) has also been reported for direct analysis of complex matrices such as honey, milk and animal tissues with reduced or without any sample manipulation [13-15]. The aim of this chapter is to discuss new trends in sample preparation techniques applied into food and environmental analysis. It includes a selection of the most interesting and promising sample treatment procedures such as on-line SPE methods, MIPs, QuEChERs, and turbulent flow chromatography. The applicability of each technique in food and environmental analysis will be discussed through the analysis of the most relevant papers recently published.
Current trends in sample treatment techniques for environmental and food analysis / Lucci, Paolo; Pacetti, Deborah; Núñez, O.; Frega, Natale Giuseppe. - (2012), pp. 127-164. [10.5772/2707]