Using solid phase micro extraction to determine salting-out (Setschenow) constants for hydrophobic organic chemicals

Michiel T O Jonker, Barry Muijs
Chemosphere 2010, 80 (3): 223-7
With increasing ionic strength, the aqueous solubility and activity of organic chemicals are altered. This so-called salting-out effect causes the hydrophobicity of the chemicals to be increased and sorption in the marine environment to be more pronounced than in freshwater systems. The process can be described with empirical salting-out or Setschenow constants, which traditionally are determined by comparing aqueous solubilities in freshwater and saline water. Aqueous solubilities of hydrophobic organic chemicals (HOCs) however are difficult to determine, which might partly explain the limited size of the existing data base on Setschenow constants for these chemicals. In this paper, we propose an alternative approach for determining the constants, which is based on the use of solid phase micro extraction (SPME) fibers. Partitioning of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to SPME fibers increased about 1.7 times when going from de-ionized water to seawater. From the log-linear relationship between SPME fiber-water partition coefficients and ionic strength, Setschenow constants were derived, which measured on average 0.35 L mol(-1). These values agreed with literature values existing for some of the investigated PAHs and were independent of solute hydrophobicity or molar volume. Based on the present data, SPME seems to be a convenient and suitable alternative technique to determine Setschenow constants for HOCs.

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