The synthesis of high specific surface area sorbents (HXLPP-WCX) in the form of hypercrosslinked polymer microspheres with narrow particle size distributions, average particle diameters around 6 µm, and weak cation exchange (WCX) character, is described. The WCX character arises from carboxylic acid moieties in the polymers, derived from the comonomer methacrylic acid. A novel HXLPP-WCX sorbent with an attractive set of chemical and physical properties was then used in an off-line solid-phase extraction (SPE) protocol for the selective extraction of a group of basic compounds from complex environmental samples, a priority being the clean separation of the basic compounds of interest from acidic compounds and interferences. The separation power of the new sorbent for basic pharmaceuticals was compared to two commercially available, mixed-mode sorbents, namely Oasis WCX and Strata X-CW. Under identical experimental conditions, HXLPP-WCX was found to deliver both higher capacity and better selectivity in SPE than either of the two commercially available materials. In an optimised SPE protocol, the HXLPP-WCX sorbent gave rise to quantitative and selective extractions of low µg l-1 levels of basic pharmaceuticals present in 500 ml of river water and 250 ml of effluent waste water.
- hypercrosslinked sorbents
- polymer microspheres
- mixed-mode weak cation-exchanger
- solid-phase extraction
- basic compounds