Electromembrane extraction (EME) was originally inspired by hollow fiber liquid-phase micro­extraction, but with the addition of an electric field.

How does it work?

1. Two separate vials

Two separate vials holding the sample solution and the acceptor solution.

2. Organic solvent membrane

The vials are separated by an organic solvent immobilized in the pores of a polymeric membrane, called the supported liquid membrane (SLM).

3. Apply electric field

By applying an electric field across the membrane, charged analytes are transported by electrokinetic migration from the sample solution into the acceptor solution, while non-ionic analytes and ions of opposite charge are withheld in the sample solution.

4. Pure sample extracted

You now have pure sample extract. Under optimized conditions, EME can provide very clean extracts with reduced matrix effects i.e. a complete discrimination of proteins and phospholipids, reducing down-time of your MS instruments. The extracts can be injected directly on LC-MS instruments using very short LC-methods before MS.

EME lecture by Dr. Frederik André Hansen

This is a presentation about Electromembrane Extraction, by Dr. Frederik André Hansen (University of Oslo). Title: Electromembrane extraction (EME) – New technology for green, efficient, and highly selective sample preparation of biological samples.
A short and a long answer

Why use Electromembrane Extraction (EME)?

EME provides rapid extractions, efficient sample clean-up and high selectivity for ionizable compounds from blood, other body fluids and environmental samples. The technique will be perfect for automation in laboratories.

The main advantages with EME is: 

Selectivity and Specificity

One of the key advantages of electromembrane extraction is its exceptional selectivity and specificity. Unlike solid-phase extraction (SPE) and liquid-liquid extraction (LLE), which rely on interactions between analytes and stationary phases or solvent phases, respectively, EME leverages both electromigration and membrane permeation mechanisms. This unique combination allows EME to selectively extract target analytes based on their physicochemical properties, minimizing interference from matrix components and enhancing analytical sensitivity.

Minimal Solvent Usage and Environmental Impact

EME offers a significant reduction in solvent consumption compared to traditional methods such as SPE and LLE. In SPE, large volumes of organic solvents are often required to elute analytes from the sorbent material, leading to considerable solvent waste and environmental impact. Similarly, LLE involves the use of two immiscible liquid phases, further exacerbating solvent usage. In contrast, EME operates with minimal solvent volumes, typically in the microliter range, thereby reducing solvent waste and aligning with principles of green analytical chemistry.

Rapid Extraction Kinetics

Time usage is of essence in analytical chemistry  and EME excels in this regard with its rapid extraction kinetics. While SPE and LLE may require prolonged extraction times to achieve adequate analyte recovery, EME’s accelerated extraction process not only increases laboratory productivity but also minimizes the risk of analyte degradation, ensuring the integrity of analytical results.

Compatibility with Small Sample Volumes

EME offers compatibility with small sample volumes, making it ideal for applications where sample availability is limited. In contrast, traditional methods such as SPE and LLE may necessitate larger sample volumes to achieve sufficient analyte recovery. By requiring only a small volume of sample, EME reduces sample consumption and facilitates the analysis of precious or scarce samples, particularly in fields such as clinical diagnostics and forensic analysis.

Versatility and Adaptability

Another advantage of EME lies in its versatility and adaptability across diverse analytical applications. Whether analyzing pharmaceuticals, environmental samples, biological fluids, or complex food matrices, EME can be tailored to suit a wide range of sample types and analyte classes. Researchers have demonstrated the efficacy of EME in extracting various analytes, including drugs, metabolites, pesticides, and environmental contaminants, underscoring its versatility in analytical chemistry.

In conclusion, electromembrane extraction represents a paradigm shift in sample preparation, offering compelling advantages over traditional methods such as solid-phase extraction and liquid-liquid extraction. With its exceptional selectivity, minimal solvent usage, rapid extraction kinetics, compatibility with small sample volumes, and versatility, EME is poised to revolutionize analytical chemistry. As researchers continue to innovate and refine this technique, the adoption of EME is expected to accelerate, driving advancements in analytical science and enabling new discoveries across diverse fields.

EME has the potential to become responsible for the paradigm shift because the technology provides:

  • Excellent reproducibility
  • Pure extracts
  • Green sample preparation method

Welcome to the future!

Non destructive
Pure sample extracts
Environmentally friendly method
Enrichment possibility