Determination of total mercury and methylmercury in biological samples by photochemical vapor generation

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/s00216-007-1194-2
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TypeArticle
Journal titleAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
ISSN1618-2642
Volume388
IssueJune 4
Pages837847; # of pages: 11
SubjectMercury; Methylmercury; Speciation; Photochemical reduction; Vapor generation; Formic acid; Tetramethylammonium hydroxide
AbstractCold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS) based on photochemical reduction by exposure to UV radiation is described for the determination of methylmercury and total mercury in biological samples. Two approaches were investigated: (a) tissues were digested in either formic acid or tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH), and total mercury was determined following reduction of both species by exposure of the solution to UV irradiation; (b) tissues were solubilized in TMAH, diluted to a final concentration of 0.125% m/v TMAH by addition of 10% v/v acetic acid and CH3Hg+ was selectively quantitated, or the initial digests were diluted to 0.125% m/v TMAH by addition of deionized water, adjusted to pH 0.3 by addition of HCl and CH3Hg+ was selectively quantitated. For each case, the optimum conditions for photochemical vapor generation (photo-CVG) were investigated. The photochemical reduction efficiency was estimated to be ∼95% by comparing the response with traditional SnCl2 chemical reduction. The method was validated by analysis of several biological Certified Reference Materials, DORM-1, DORM-2, DOLT-2 and DOLT-3, using calibration against aqueous solutions of Hg2+; results showed good agreement with the certified values for total and methylmercury in all cases. Limits of detection of 6 ng/g for total mercury using formic acid, 8 ng/g for total mercury and 10 ng/g for methylmercury using TMAH were obtained. The proposed methodology is sensitive, simple and inexpensive, and promotes “green” chemistry. The potential for application to other sample types and analytes is evident.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Institute for National Measurement Standards; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
Identifier19834561
NRC number4091
NPARC number8899730
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Record identifier91d4c505-527e-4eb0-87fe-a06e918c3fef
Record created2009-04-22
Record modified2016-05-09
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