Separating the Analyte from Interferents
When a method shows a high degree of selectivity for the analyte, the task of per- forming a quantitative, qualitative, or characterization analysis is simplified. For ex- ample, a quantitative analysis for glucose in honey is easier to accomplish if the method is selective for glucose, even in the presence of other reducing sugars, such as fructose. Unfortunately, analytical methods are rarely selective toward a single species.
In the absence of interferents, the relationship between the sample’s signal, Ssamp, and the concentration of analyte, CA, is
Ssamp = kACA 7.9
where kA is the analyte’s sensitivity.* In the presence of an interferent, equation 7.9 becomes
where kI and CI are the interferent’s sensitivity and concentration, respectively. A method’s selectivity is determined by the relative difference in its sensitivity toward the analyte and interferent. If kA is greater than kI, then the method is more selec- tive for the analyte. The method is more selective for the interferent if kI is greater than kA.
Solving equation 7.11 for kI and substituting into equation 7.10 gives, after simplifying
An interferent, therefore, will not pose a problem as long as the product of its con- centration and the selectivity coefficient is significantly smaller than the analyte’s concentration.
When an interferent cannot be ignored, an accurate analysis must begin by separat- ing the analyte and interferent.