Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences

Single-walled carbon nanotubes as an effective adsorbent in solid-phase microextraction of low level methyl tert-butyl ether, ethyl tert-butyl ether and methyl tert-amyl ether from human urine.

PMID 19395320


Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are a kind of new carbon-based nano-materials which have drawn great attention in many application fields. The potential single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as solid-phase microextraction (SPME) adsorbents for the preconcentration of environmental pollutants have been investigated in recent years. The goal of this work was to investigate the feasibility of SWCNTs used as adsorbents for solid-phase microextraction of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) and tert-amyl methyl ether (TAME) in human urine. SWCNTs were attached onto a stainless steel wire through organic binder. Potential factors affecting the extraction efficiency were optimized, including extraction time, extraction temperature, desorption time, desorption temperature, and salinity. The developed method showed good performance according to the ICH performance criteria for bioanalytical methods. The calibration curves of the ethers were linear (r(2)>or=0.992) in the range from 10 to 5000 ng L(-1). The limits of detection at a signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio of 3 were 10 ng L(-1) for all the analytes. In addition, compared with the commercial carboxen/polydimethylsiloxane (CAR/PDMS) fiber, the SWCNT fiber showed better thermal stability (over 350 degrees C) and longer life span (over 150 times). The developed method was applied successfully to determine trace level of the ethers in urine of 10 healthy male volunteers.