Ionic-liquid-based microextraction method for the determination of silver nanoparticles in consumer products

  • M. Laura SorianoEmail author
  • Celia Ruiz-Palomero
  • Miguel Valcárcel
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A simple method to determine hazardous silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) based on ionic liquid (IL) dispersive liquid–liquid microextraction and back-extraction is described. This approach involves AgNP stabilization using a cationic surfactant followed by extraction from the sample matrix by means of an IL as an extraction phase. Certain ILs have high affinity for metals, and preliminary experiments showed that those ILs consisting of imidazolium cation efficiently extracted AgNPs in the presence of a cationic surfactant and a chelating agent. Afterward, histamine was used as a dispersing agent to promote phase transfer of differently coated AgNPs from the IL in aqueous solution to be subsequently analyzed by UV–visible spectrometry. The analytical procedure allows AgNPs to be recovered from the sample matrix in an aqueous medium, the enrichment factor being up to 4, preserving both AgNP size and AgNP shape as demonstrated by transmission electron microscopy images and the localized surface plasmon resonance band characteristic of each AgNP. The present method exhibited a linear response for AgNPs in the range from 3 to 20 μg/mL, the limit of detection being 0.15 μg/mL. Method efficiency was assessed in spiked orange juice and face cream, yielding recoveries ranging from 75.7% to 96.6%. The method was evaluated in the presence of other nanointerferents (namely, gold nanoparticles). On the basis of diverse electrophoretic mobilities and surface plasmon resonance bands for metal nanoparticles, capillary electrophoresis was used to prove the lack of interaction of the target AgNPs with gold nanoparticles during the whole protocol; thus, interferents do not affect AgNP determination. As a consequence, the analytical approach described has great potential for the analysis of engineered nanosilver in consumer products.

Graphical abstract

Simple protocol for the determination of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) based on dispersive liquid–liquid extraction with a specific short alkyl side chain ionic liquid and their quantitative detection with a UV–visible spectrometer. HMIM•PF6 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate, NP nanoparticle, SPR surface plasmon resonance


Ionic liquid Imidazolium cation Extraction Histamine Silver nanoparticles Surface plasmon resonance 



Silver nanoparticle


Gold nanoparticle


3-(Cyclohexylamino)-1-propanesulfonic acid


Capillary electrophoresis


Cetyltrimethylammonium bromide


Cetyltrimethylammonium chloride


Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid


1-Hexyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate


Ionic liquid






Relative standard deviation


Sodium dodecyl sulfate


Surface plasmon resonance


Transmission electron microscopy



This research was supported by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme for the project FP7-NMP-2007-2013-SME5-280550. MLS expresses her gratitude to the Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha-FEDER Funds for funding the project SBPLY/17/180501/000333.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

216_2019_1889_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (137 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 136 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Laura Soriano
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Celia Ruiz-Palomero
    • 4
  • Miguel Valcárcel
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Regional Institute for Applied Chemistry ResearchCiudad RealSpain
  2. 2.Department of Analytical Chemistry and Food TechnologyUniversity of Castilla–La ManchaCiudad RealSpain
  3. 3.Department of Analytical Chemistry and Food Technology, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of Castilla–La ManchaAlbaceteSpain
  4. 4.Department of Analytical Chemistry, Institute of Fine Chemistry and NanochemistryUniversity of CórdobaCórdobaSpain
  5. 5.Spanish Royal Academy of SciencesMadridSpain

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