Electrospun polystyrene (PS) nanofibers (130–500 nm) incorporating a potassium salt of imidazole-1-carbodithioate were evaluated as potential sorbents for the pre-concentration of a model organochlorine pesticide; 1,1-dichloro-2,2bis-(4-chlorophenyl)ethylene (DDE). The efficiencies of DDE (0.25–1.0 μg L−1) adsorption by the nanofiber sorbent followed by desorption employing pressurized hot water extraction (PHWE) were investigated and monitored using gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC-ECD). Parameters such as time, temperature and pressure of extraction, sample volume, DDE concentration and sorbent mass were optimized. The maximum adsorption of DDE (0.50 μg L−1) on electrospun PS and carbodithioate incorporated PS nanofibers was at 43.7 and 94.6%, respectively, in 20 min. Incorporation of carbodithiote doubled the adsorption efficiency of PS and achieved LOD of 0.000234 μg L−1 for DDE. The optimal DDE desorption on the PHWE system was 93.8% in 10 min. It would seem that the use of electrospun nanofibers as sorbent material with subsequent desorption by PHWE has great potential and thus warrants further investigations. This approach as it uses water as an extraction solvent for an organochlorine pesticide provides an opportunity to eliminate organic solvents, especially for procedures aimed at monitoring organic pollutants in the environment.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the African Network of Analytical Chemists (SEANAC), Water Research Commission and the National Research Foundation of South Africa, Andrew Mellon foundation and STINT.