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Microextractions in forensic toxicology: The potential role of ionic liquids

De Boeck, Marieke, Dehaen, Wim, Tytgat, Jan, Cuypers, Eva
Trends in analytical chemistry 2019 v.111 pp. 73-84
anions, cations, drugs, flammability, forensic sciences, green chemistry, ionic liquids, microextraction, physicochemical properties, toxicity, toxicology, volatile organic compounds
In forensic toxicology, scientists are faced with complex samples and trace concentrations of low-dose legal and illegal drugs. To enable accurate and sensitive analysis, a thorough sample preparation step is crucial. In the context of green chemistry, sample preparation techniques are rapidly evolving. Microextractions are introduced to avoid the use of large solvent volumes and obtain high analyte enrichment. Another trend is the search for alternative solvents to replace toxic and volatile organic solvents. Ionic liquids (ILs) - liquid salts - are proposed as promising alternatives, thanks to their low volatility, low flammability, good thermal and chemical stability. Moreover, the IL structure can be altered by combining different cations and anions, resulting in ILs with optimized physicochemical properties for the extraction of a specific analyte. This review describes the current state of microextraction techniques that apply ILs for the extraction of forensically relevant drugs in biological samples.