BACKGROUND: Despite its potential benefits over univariate, chemometrics is rarely utilized for optimizing sequential injection analysis (SIA) methods. Specifically, in previous vis-spectrophotometric SIA methods, chemometrically optimized conditions were confined within flow rate and reagent concentrations while other conditions were ignored.
RESULTS: A new diclofenac assay method was adopted. The method was based on oxidizing diclofenac by permanganate (a major reagent) with sulfuric acid (a minor reagent). The reaction produced a spectrophotometrically detectable diclofenac form. The 26 full-factorial design was utilized to study the effect of volumes of reagents and sample, in addition to flow rate and concentrations of reagents. The main effects and all interaction order effects on method performance, i.e. namely sensitivity, rapidity and reagent consumption, were determined. The method was validated and applied to pharmaceutical formulations (tablets, injection and gel).
CONCLUSIONS: Despite 64 experiments those conducted in the current study were cumbersome, the results obtained would reduce effort and time when developing similar SIA methods in the future. It is recommended to critically optimize effective and interacting conditions using other such optimization tools as fractional-factorial design, response surface and simplex, rather than full-factorial design that used at an initial optimization stage. In vis-spectrophotometric SIA methods those involve developing reactions with two reagents (major and minor), conditions affecting method performance are in the following order: sample volume > flow rate ≈ major reagent concentration >> major reagent volume ≈ minor reagent concentration >> minor reagent volume.
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