Environmental Laboratory

  • Questions & Answers about performing dioxin extraction on environmental matrices

Questions & Answers about performing dioxin extraction on environmental matrices

Jun 12 2019 Read 935 Times


SYNLAB is one of the largest service laboratories in Europe and the largest laboratory service provider for clinics, hospitals and the environmental industry. SYNLAB has representation in more than 40 countries on four different continents around the world. They have 19,000 employees and perform around 500,000,000 analyses per year.


The environmental department of SYNLAB Linköping is focused on the determination of organic pollutants in different matrices, such as Dioxins and Furans, PAH’s and PCB’s. The main issue with their technique is related to memory effect/ carryover in the extraction cells. It requires long and tedious cleaning procedures of the extraction vessels. As a result, with conventional extraction systems, it is not possible to achieve the high throughput requested by daily assignments.

Milestone’s ETHOS X microwave system with the FastEX-24 rotor is specifically designed to overcome the memory effect and the cleaning steps by using disposable glass vials.  Its ease of use and high throughput reduce overall costs and time.

New Extraction Method's Implementation

“At SYNLAB, we were impressed with the efficiency of the new Milestone ETHOS X with the fastEX-24 rotor over other technologies already available in our lab.”

They decided to move their current extraction methods to microwave technology. The main reason for the change is gaining efficiency, because they can run 24 samples simultaneously. Secondly, the ETHOS X’s ease of use as the fastEX24 rotor is specifically designed to overcome the memory effect and the cleaning steps by using disposable glass vials as reaction vessels, which are placed into a pressure reactor. This approach leads to ensure great analytical blanks and completely avoid carryover between runs. This results in increasing throughput and lowering labor costs. The glass vials are inexpensive and consumable cost are negligible. They can now process up to 24 samples in 40 minutes with the fastEX-24 rotor, reducing the cost per analysis.

In 2018, they approximately extracted 1500 dioxin soil samples with the ETHOS X system.


The results obtained with microwave technology show recovery of all the molecules in the range of 80-120% with great reproducibility. Even after a dioxins extraction the blanks are always below 0,065 ug/Kg, thanks to the use of disposable glass vials, which allow to completely overcome memory effect and carryover.

No learning curve or expertise is needed to use the system: operators simply follow a quick-to-adopt process to prepare the run.

“Thanks to ETHOS X, extraction is no more a bottleneck. We really like the fact that the system is designed around the disposable glass tubes, because it also avoids contamination, which is a very challenging issue in dioxins determination.”

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