Accurate and precise determination of silver isotope fractionation in environmental samples by multicollector-ICPMS

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Journal titleAnalytical Chemistry
Pages39223928; # of pages: 7
AbstractHigh precision silver isotope ratios in environmental samples were determined by multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS). Purification of Ag from sample matrixes was performed by a two stage tandem column setup with use of anion and cation exchange resin, sequentially. It was found that 1% HNO3 and 3% HCl was efficient to stabilize Ag in the final purified sample digests prior to MC-ICPMS determination. Pd at 2 μg g−1 was added to both sample and Ag standard solution as a common doping matrix as well as an internal standard for mass bias correction. Mass discrimination and instrument drift were corrected by a combination of internal normalization with Pd and standard-sample-standard bracketing, without assuming identical mass bias for Pd and Ag. NIST SRM 978a (silver isotopic standard reference material) was used for method validation and subjected to column separation and sample preparation processes. A value of −0.003 ± 0.010 ‰ for δ107/109Ag (mean and 2SD, n = 4) was obtained, confirming accurate results can be obtained using the proposed method. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on δ107/109Ag variations in environmental samples. Significant differences in Ag isotope ratios were found among NIST SRM 978a standard, sediment CRM PACS-2, domestic sludge SRM 2781, industrial sludge 2782, and the fish liver CRM DOLT-4. The sediment CRM PACS-2 has a very small negative δ107/109Ag value of −0.025 ± 0.012 ‰ (2SD, n = 4). The domestic sludge SRM 2781 has a negative δ107/109Ag value of −0.061 ± 0.010 ‰ (2SD, n = 4), whereas industrial sludge SRM 2782 has a positive δ107/109Ag value of +0.044 ± 0.014 ‰ (2SD, n = 4), which may indicate the contribution of Ag from different anthropogenic inputs. DOLT-4 has a much larger negative value of −0.284 ± 0.014 ‰ (2SD, n = 4), possibly caused by biological processes. These observations confirm that Ag isotope fractionation may provide a useful tool for fingerprinting sources of Ag in the environment and for studying a wide variety of chemical and biological processes in nature. High precision of better than ±0.015 ‰ (2SD, n = 4) obtained in real sample matrixes makes the present method well suited for monitoring small Ag isotope fractionation in nature.
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AffiliationNRC Institute for National Measurement Standards; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number16312866
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Record identifier7826786a-6ed4-49b4-b8a4-46e9e821ae06
Record created2010-11-15
Record modified2016-05-09
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