How does it work?

To extract compounds of interest, you need to find experimental conditions that favor certain intermolecular interactions and avoid others.

The choice of extractant is therefore crucial: it must allow for the solubilization of the compounds to be extracted, while interacting with the matrix to break solute-matrix interactions; however, the extractant should have very little or no interaction with the interfering compounds present (see illustrative diagram).

Diagram illustrating the interactions. 4 elements are present: the matrix, the solute, the extractant and the interfering compounds. Some interactions are to be favored: extractant - matrix, extractant - solute and interfering compounds - matrix. Other interactions are to be avoided: solute - matrix and interfering compounds - extractant.
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