Analysis of semivolatile organic compounds in waste via a rugged and reliable sample preparation

Iren Ambiente


Iren Ambiente are highly specialized laboratories with 80 technicians performing chemical, microbiological and hydrobiological analyzes, eco-toxicological tests and environmental consultancy related to water resources, environmental matrices, waste and energy for a total of over 1,200,000 tests and 100,000 samples per year.
The laboratories of the Iren Ambiente are able to offer environmental analysis and consultancy services concerning water, soil, waste and compost.
Iren Ambiente laboratory is equipped for organic pollutant testing with the latest instrumentation for Gas Chromatography /Mass spec (GC-MS) and with microwave instrumentation technologies for sample digestion.
Their previous adopted method for extraction of organic compounds from waste was the Pressurized Liquid Extraction sequential technique (PLE).


Iren Ambiente deals everyday with extractions of various contaminants from different environmental matrices like soils, clays, sediments, sludge and solid wastes. Working daily with a high workload of solid waste, they were in a need to introduce another extraction technique that would allow to extract any type of sample avoiding the typical problems of sequential extraction.
The main reasons why they decided to implement ETHOS X microwave extraction system with the fastEX-24 rotor was the need to improve their sample preparation procedure for waste samples, which was difficult and unreliable with the PLE technology.
Thus, Iren Ambiente was attracted by the system because it could help solving maintenance problems they had with their PLE system when processing samples with high plastic contents. These samples potentially led to tubes clogging or general pump issues.
From the customer voice:
“The advantages of ETHOS X compared to sequential technology are the improved productivity and the ability to process any kind of difficult sample”
dr Michela Bottaro and dr Andrea Cresti, @ IREN Ambiente

IMPLEMENTATION of ETHOS X with fastEX-24 rotor

When the new parallel method of microwave extraction was introduced, they could immediately see the potential of this new approach, in terms of productivity.
Iren Ambiente recognized in the ETHOS X a perfect solution for their needs since the new method boosted their extraction procedure, with minimal solvent usage.
Microwave solvent extractions are performed in compliance with the US EPA Method 3546 for the determination of Semivolatile Organic Compounds (SVOC Analysis) that include hydrocarbons, dioxins, phenols, pesticides, PCBs, PAHs, phthalate esters. No method development was needed and its implementation has been easy and smooth. They rapidly got consistent recoveries, comparable to those obtained with the previous technique.
Moreover, the robustness of the microwave hardware led to expand their application range. “It has demonstrated to be able to process all kind of solid matrices, even those with high plastic content or highly polluted ones, eliminating any clogging problem that typically occurs with sequential technique”.
Practically no learning curve or expertise is needed to use the system: the operator simply follows a quick-to adopt process to prepare the run.

ETHOS X for organic pollutant determination

ETHOS X offers superior lab efficiency in the determination of organic pollutants with microwave green extraction technique. Typical applications include chlorinated pesticides, semi-volatile organics, PAHs, PCBs, chlorinated herbicides, phenols, organophosphorus pesticides, dioxins and furans

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"ETHOS X is capable of extracting matrices with high plastic content or the highly polluted one that generated clogging problem with Pressurize Liquid Extraction"