Sample preparation is the least evolved and most error-prone step in chromatographic analytical procedures. Many laboratories still use the Soxhlet method that was developed in 1879.
Microwave-assisted extraction uses closed vessels to heat the extraction solvent above its atmospheric boiling point. Working at elevated temperature increases the solubility of the analyte of interest and decreases the solvent viscosity, leading to more efficient sample preparation and lower extraction times. Microwave extraction is selective, fast and produces more accurate and precise results than other methods.
Typical applications of microwave-assisted solvent extraction include organic pollutants from environmental matrices, fat determination in food samples, contaminants from food and extraction of additives from plastics.