Optimized environmental extraction workflow for semi-volatile organics

Ensuring High-Quality, Safe, and Productive Workflows for the Extraction of Environmental Matrices

As regulations increasingly demand lower action levels for semi-volatile organic compounds in environmental matrices, laboratories must scrutinize their analysis workflows to optimize rate-limiting steps. Significant resources are often dedicated to optimize analysis techniques such as GC/MS and GC/ECD; however, greater emphasis on preparation processes is crucial to alleviate bottlenecks in sample preparation, such as extractions.
Coupled with an emphasis on safety, health, and cost reduction, these factors drive the need for Milestone's comprehensive workflow solution for sample preparation.
Milestone’s Total Workflow Approach integrates solvent handling, sample extraction, and sample filtration, while preventing cross-contamination and utilizing a small footprint to free up valuable hood space.
The Total Sample Preparation Workflow for Organic Extractions from Environmental Matrices, targeting semi-volatile organics (such as BNA, Pesticides, PCBs, TPH-DRO, etc.), includes the following main steps:
Sample workflow

Discussing Employee's Safety and Health

Prioritizing employee health and safety is essential in any workflow involving organic extractions. Reducing exposure to methylene chloride and other solvents has become increasingly critical as both the EPA and OSHA intensify their scrutiny of methylene chloride usage. OSHA enforces stringent guidelines for methylene chloride, including detailed usage plans and monitoring requirements. Additionally, local regulations targeting methylene chloride emissions from laboratory fume hoods necessitate a reduction in laboratories' use of this solvent.
The Total Sample Preparation Workflow approach not only assists laboratories in decreasing their solvent usage and associated risks but also enhances productivity and enables more cost-effective and timely sample processing.


When handling solvent systems for organic pollutants extractions, most laboratories utilize a 1:1 ratio of methylene chloride to acetone or hexane to acetone. Managing these solvents presents significant challenges due to the volumes required in solvent extraction protocols. EasyFILL system addresses these challenges by safely and accurately delivering solvents, individually or as mixtures, to any standard extraction vessel. The system's racks are available in various configurations to accommodate most common extraction vessels. Additionally, solvent fumes are efficiently vented through an exhaust hose into a fume hood, minimizing exposure and enhancing laboratory safety.
  • Reduce Solvent Exposure
  • Free up Hood space
  • Consistent volumes added (+1% accuracy)
  • Adaptable to any size vessels
  • Inert design/no cross contamination


Microwave technology for soil extractions offers a cost-effective, safe, and reliable method for extracting organics in accordance with EPA SW-846 Method 3546. The ETHOS X microwave extraction system, equipped with the fastEX-24 rotor, is specifically designed for the extraction of organic pollutants. It can process up to 30 grams of sample in each vessel, meeting even stringent reporting limit requirements. The fastEX-24 rotor utilizes 145 mL PTFE-TFM vessels with 100 mL disposable glass vials, which hold both samples and solvents. The use of disposable glass vials eliminates the need for cleaning and prevents carryover, thus saving time and enhancing process reliability.
Temperature control during the extraction process is managed via contactless temperature control at all positions, ensuring uniform temperature for all samples and excellent analyte recovery. The fastEX-24 rotor allows for the simultaneous extraction of up to 24 samples within just 40 minutes.
Additionally, assembling and disassembling the fastEX-24 vessels is quick and straightforward, taking only a few seconds due to its minimal components. The use of an automatic capping/uncapping tool further streamlines the process, significantly reducing operator time.
Milestone's extraction systems are used in hundreds of laboratories worldwide for organic extractions.
  • 30-gram sample size better RLs
  • 40 minutes from start to finish for 24 samples
  • Disposable glass inserts-no cleaning or cross contamination
  • Documentation of each sample extraction


The final step before extract concentration involves filtering and rinsing the contents of the disposable vial into an evaporation vessel, which may be 50 mL, 200 mL, or another size suitable for your evaporation system.
The Milestone SFS-24 automated filtration system can simultaneously filter up to 24 extracts through anhydrous sodium sulfate and a 0.45 µm filter (or other sizes as required) directly into the concentration vessel. This process is conducted within a fume hood and only takes a few minutes, including rinsing, aided by a vacuum-assist feature. The entire setup boasts a compact design, occupying minimal space in the fume hood. Additionally, its rotating mechanism simplifies the operation and the use of disposable components not only prevents cross-contamination but also eliminates the time-consuming cleaning steps.
  • Filter 24 extracts simultaneously
  • Filter through sodium sulfate and 0.45 u filter
  • Compact and ergonomic design


The Milestone Total Workflow approach to extractions offers laboratories a comprehensive range of benefits, including significant cost savings, enhanced performance metrics, and effective risk management. These advantages support key performance indicators and ensure superior operational efficiency in handling organic extractions.