Automated sample extraction techniques include accelerated solvent extraction and automated solid phase extraction.
Accelerated solvent extraction is often used when testing food packaging materials, food contact materials, and food samples, and analysing for semi-volatile and non-volatile compounds. It is a particularly efficient technique to reliably extract compounds from polymeric materials. Conditions can be carefully controlled to ensure that the material is not deformed or damaged during the extraction process.
The technique, ideal for high-throughput labs, uses organic acids and aqueous solvents or acids and bases at high temperatures to increase the extraction efficiency of analytes, and high pressures to keep the solvents in a liquid state to extract compounds from solid and semi-solid samples quickly, using small solvent volume. This ultimately saves time, solvent, and money, and can generate results in a fraction of the time compared to traditional techniques such as Soxhlet or sonication.
The ASE technique takes 15–30 minutes and on average uses only 10–30ml of solvent, infiltrating the matrix more effectively so that certain types of incurred residues are extracted more effectively, and thus more accurate results may be obtained.