Surface nanodroplet-based nanoextraction from sub-milliliter volumes of dense suspensions†
A greener analytical technique for quantifying compounds in dense suspensions is needed for wastewater and environmental analysis, chemical or bio-conversion process monitoring, biomedical diagnostics, and food quality control, among others. In this work, we introduce a green, fast, one-step method called nanoextraction for extraction and detection of target analytes from sub-milliliter dense suspensions using surface nanodroplets without toxic solvents and pre-removal of the solid contents. With nanoextraction, we achieve a limit of detection (LOD) of 10−9 M for a fluorescent model analyte obtained from a particle suspension sample. The LOD is lower than that in water without particles (10−8 M), potentially due to the interaction of particles and the analyte. The high particle concentration in the suspension sample, thus, does not reduce the extraction efficiency, although the extraction process was slowed down up to 5 min. As a proof of principle, we demonstrate the nanoextraction for the quantification of model compounds in wastewater slurry containing 30 wt% solids and oily components (i.e. heavy oils). The nanoextraction and detection technology developed in this work may be used in fast analytical technologies for complex slurry samples in the environment, industrial waste, or in biomedical diagnostics.