A new automated micro liquid-liquid extraction technique was successfully developed. This novel syringe-based technique capitalizes on the advantages of vigorous fluid agitation and the shearing effect of two fluids with different properties to achieve high extraction efficiency. The technique is at least 20 times faster than mechanical shaking or sonication in achieving a similar recovery even with a hydrophilic probe molecule such as 1,4-dioxane in an aqueous medium. Excellent repeatability with a relative standard deviation as low as 0.56% over a five-day test, n = 2 per day, was demonstrated with 1,4-dioxane. Other model compounds in aqueous matrices evaluated, including phenolics and extraction solvents like chloroform and hexane, showed similar performance in repeatability. An added advantage of this technique involves performing multiple extractions. Its capabilities in conducting complicated extraction steps and minimizing the use of organic solvents as low as 200 µL to achieve a preconcentration effect were demonstrated. The technique is suitable for use with emulsion-forming samples without further sample manipulation by incorporating a demulsifier such as acetone during the extraction process. The technique was found to be efficient and environmentally friendly with low solvent waste. This technique is ideal for implementation in automated high throughput and cost-effective quality assurance laboratory environments.
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