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Pure Appl. Chem., 2006, Vol. 78, No. 11, pp. 1993-2002

Application of the principles of green chemistry in analytical chemistry

Mihkel Koel and Mihkel Kaljurand

Institute of Chemistry, Tallinn University of Technology, Akadeemia tee 15, Tallinn 12618, Estonia

The introduction of the dimension of green chemistry into the assessment of analytical methods should be a natural development trend in chemistry and should coincide with its general policy. Some of the principles of green chemistry - such as prevention of waste generation; safer solvents and auxiliaries; design for energy efficiency; safer chemistry to minimize the potential of chemical accidents; development of instrumental methods - are directly related to analytical chemistry.
Analytical chemistry is considered to be a small-scale activity, but this is not always true in the case of controlling and monitoring laboratories whose number of runs performed is high. This makes an analytical laboratory comparable with the fine chemicals or pharmaceutical industry. The use of instrumental methods instead of wet chemistry, automation, and minimization is a new trend in analytical chemistry, making this branch of chemistry more sustainable.
In this study, widespread separation methods are considered and an attempt is made to characterize them against the above-mentioned principles. Special attention is given to capillary electrophoresis (CE), which provides a very good opportunity to improve analytical chemistry by replacing many chromatographic methods that consume large volumes of solvents. The choice of different solvents and micronization in analytical chemistry is also discussed.