In the last decade, several developments, particularly in the liquid chromatography and hyphenated techniques fields, have allowed researchers to reach analytical limits that are becoming very close to the single molecule level. Sample preparation, however, despite being a key step in the analytical methodology, did not track these developments and very few approaches able to cope with these stringent analytical requirements were developed. One such approach is microextraction by packed sorbent (MEPS), a sophisticated and miniaturized form of solid phase extraction that has reduced to the microliter scale every step of the sample extraction methodology including sample volume and solvent usage. Simultaneously, the amount of extraction phase used was also reduced and, more importantly, the sorbent is reusable dozens of times which significantly lowers the cost of analysis versus other solid-phase extraction approaches. In this review, we will update the state-of-the-art of the MEPS technique, focusing on the trends and applications reported since 2010 and future perspectives and developments that in our view will further improve the high-throughput potential and applications of this sample preparation methodology.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.