Elucidating the sorption mechanism of "mixed-mode" SPME using the basic drug amphetamine as a model compound.Anal Chim Acta. 2013 Jun 11; 782:21-7.AC
We studied the sorption of amphetamine as a model drug to represent small, polar organic cations to a new SPME coating combining C18 and propylsulfonic acid. This combination of hydrophobic and strong cation exchange (SCX) groups was compared to conventional SPME fibers with polyacrylate (PA) or C18 coating. The affinity of amphetamine at physiological pH (PBS) was 20 to 180 times greater for the new C18/SCX coating than for C18 alone and PA of different coating thickness. As amphetamine is a base and >99% protonated at physiological pH, this enhanced affinity is attributed to the ion-exchange phase in the coating. Tests at pH above the pKa of amphetamine show that, when normalized to the coating volume, neutral amphetamine also has a higher affinity compared to PA. As ion-exchange groups are not unlimitedly present in the coating, amphetamine isotherms level off to a saturation concentration on the C18/SCX fiber at the highest tested aqueous concentrations. Also, other cations (Na(+), K(+), Ca(2+)) compete for the SCX sites and decrease the sorption coefficients, e.g. by 1.7 log units when comparing Milli-Q water with PBS. The C18/SCX fiber provides improved sensitivity over some of the classic SPME fibers. However, care should be taken near the cation exchange capacity of the fiber and the fiber should be calibrated in an appropriate matrix so as to eliminate competition effects.