A cloud point extraction process using the nonionic surfactant Triton X-114 to extract molybdenum from aqueous solutions was investigated. The method is based on the complexation reaction of Mo(VI) with 1,2,5,8-tetrahydroxyanthracene-9,10-dione (quinalizarine: QA) and micelle-mediated extraction of the complex. The enriched analyte in the surfactant-rich phase was determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS). The optimal extraction and reaction conditions (e.g. pH, reagent and surfactant concentrations, temperature, incubation and centrifugation times) were evaluated and optimized. Under the optimized experimental conditions, the limit of detection (LOD) for Mo(VI) was 7.0 ng L(-1) with an preconcentration factor of similar to 25 when 10 mL of sample solution was preconcentrated to 0.4 mL The proposed method (with extraction) showed linear calibration within the range 0.03-0.6 mu g L(-1). The relative standard deviation (RSD) was found to be 3.7% (C(Mo(VI)) = 0.05 mu g L(-1), n = 5) for pure standard solutions, whereas RSD for the recoveries from real samples ranged between 2 and 8% (mean RSD = 3.9%). The method was applied to the determination of Mo(VI) in seawater and tap water samples with a recovery for the spiked samples in the range of 98-103%. The interference effect of some cations and anions was also studied. In the presence of foreign ions, no significant interference was observed. In order to verify the accuracy of the method, a certified reference water sample was analysed and the results obtained were in good agreement with the certified values. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.