Equilibrium sampling through membranes (ESTM) of acidic organic pollutants using hollow fibre modules in continuous steady-state mode

Niklas Larsson, Karl Utterback, Lars Toräng, Johan Risberg, Per Gustafsson, Philipp Mayer, Jan Åke Jönsson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Hollow fibre (HF) membrane modules were applied in continuous mode for equilibrium sampling through membranes (ESTIM) of polar organic pollutants. Phenolic compounds (chlorophenols, cresols and phenol) served as model substances and ESTM was tuned towards the measurement of freely dissolved concentrations (C(free)). HF membrane modules were constructed using thin-walled membrane, 1-m module length and low packing density in order to optimise the uptake kinetics of the analytes into the acceptor solution. Such custom made devices were tested and compared to commercially available modules. The former modules performed best for continuous ESTIM. The custom made modules provided steady-state equilibrium within 20-40 min and enrichment that was in general agreement with calculated distribution ratios between acceptor and sample. In experiments during which sample concentration was changed, acceptor response time to decreased sample concentration was around 30 min for custom built modules. In the presence of commercial humic acids, analytes showed lower steady-state enrichment, which is due to a decrease in C(free). Continuous ESTM may be automated and is suggested for use in online determination of C(free) of pollutants and studies on sorption of pollutants. Future studies should include optimisation of the membrane liquid and factors regarding the residence time of the acceptor solution in the fibre lumen. Qualitative aspects of DOM should also be included, as natural DOM can be fractionated. C(free) could be correlated to DOM properties that have previously been shown to influence sorption, such as aromaticity, carboxylic acid content and molecular size. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1213-1220
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Membrane extraction
  • Equilibrium sampling
  • Freely dissolved concentration
  • Hollow fibre
  • Continuous extraction
  • Liquid chromatography


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