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In situ formation of thymol-based hydrophobic deep eutectic solvents: Application to antibiotics analysis in surface water based on liquid-liquid microextraction followed by liquid chromatography.

  • Li, Ke1
  • Jin, Yan1
  • Jung, Dasom1
  • Park, Keunbae1
  • Kim, Hireem1
  • Lee, Jeongmi2
  • 1 School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Republic of Korea. , (North Korea)
  • 2 School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: [email protected] , (North Korea)
Published Article
Journal of chromatography. A
Publication Date
Nov 22, 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2019.460730
PMID: 31812273


A simple and ecofriendly sample preparation method was developed for quantifying fluoroquinolone (FQ) antibiotics in surface water. Seventeen combinations of monoterpenes (menthol, thymol, and camphor), fatty acids (heptanoic, octanoic, nonanoic, and decanoic acids), and a benzoate ester (salol) were utilized for the in situ formation of hydrophobic deep eutectic solvents (hDESs) for liquid-liquid microextraction (LLME). The hDES comprising thymol and heptanoic acid (HA) exhibited the highest extraction efficiency for ofloxacin, norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, and enrofloxacin. Optimization via the one-variable-at-a-time strategy revealed that a 2:1 ratio of thymol to HA yielded the highest efficiency for antibiotic extraction at pH 4-7. Further, response surface methodology-based optimization suggested that the optimal extraction conditions involved the use of appropriate amounts of thymol and HA to generate 100 μL of hDES in 10 mL of aqueous sample with incubation at 52 °C for 5 min, followed by automated shaking for 1 min. The collected hDES phase was diluted and subjected to liquid chromatography-ultraviolet detection analysis. The established method based on in situ formation of hDES coupled with shaker-assisted LLME (in situ hDES-SA-LLME) was validated. The method was specific and showed good linearity in the 15-3000 ng mL-1 concentration range (r2 ≥ 0.9997), with a limit of detection of 3.0 ng mL-1, limit of quantification of 9.0 ng mL-1, accuracy of 84.1-113.65%, and intra-day and inter-day precision of ≤7.78% RSD and ≤7.91% RSD, respectively. The method was successfully applied to three different types of real surface water samples. Without toxic volatile organic solvents, the developed method allows for safe and rapid, yet reliable, analysis of FQ antibiotics. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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