A Comparison of the Use of Microwave Extraction for Organics – SW-846, Method 3546

Oral Presentation

Prepared by C. Neslund
Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental, LLC, 2425 New Holland Pike, Lancaster, PA, 17601, United States

Contact Information: charlesneslund@eurofinsus.com; 717-556-7231


Historically, when solid samples are extracted for the analysis of semivolatiles and pesticides/PCBs, the techniques of choice have been Soxhlet Extraction (SW-846, 3540) or Ultrasonic Extraction (SW-846, 3550). These techniques have proven their value over many years of use but have also demonstrated limitations with regard to:

a. Efficiency with which the extraction can be performed (turn around time)
b. The significant amount of solvent used
c. Effectiveness over a wide range of chemistries for the compounds being analyzed

Several variations of a pressurized fluid extraction (SW-846, 3545) have been successfully introduced in recent years but have struggled to replace soxhlet and sonication.

In our lab, we have begun to use Microwave Extraction (SW-846, 3546) with great success. In our experience, the technique has allowed for greater productivity and efficiency. It uses less solvent than the conventional techniques and does a very effective job of extracting a wide range of chemistries. We will provide data to demonstrate the technique’s effectiveness in comparison to more conventional techniques and compliance with program recovery criteria, such as DoD QSM.