A simple and rapid analytical method for the simultaneous quantification of three commercial azo dyes—Tartrazine (TAR), Congo Red (CR), and Amido Black (AB) in water is presented. The simultaneous assessment of the individual concentration of an organic dye in mixtures using a spectrophotometric method is a difficult procedure in analytical chemistry, due to spectral overlapping. This drawback can be overcome if a multivariate calibration method such as Partial Least Squares Regression (PLSR) is used. This study presents a calibration model based on absorption spectra in the 300 - 650 nm range for a set of 20 different mixtures of dyes, followed by the prediction of the concentrations of dyes in 6 validation mixtures, randomly selected, using the PLSR method. Estimated limits of detection (LOD) were 0.106, 0.047 and 0.079 mg/L for TAR, CR, and AB, respectively, and limits of quantification (LOQ) were 0.355, 0.157 and 0.265 mg/L for TAR, CR, and AB, respectively. Quantitative determination of the three azo dyes was performed following optimized adsorption experiments onto chitosan beads of mixtures of TAR, CR and AB. Adsorption isotherm and kinetic studies were carried out, proving that the proposed PLSR method is rapid, accurate and reliable.
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