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J Environ Monit. 2005 Dec;7(12):1214-9. Epub 2005 Oct 7.

Observations on the measurement of total antimony and antimony species in algae, plant and animal tissues.

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Ecochemistry Laboratory, Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Belconnen, 2601, Australia.


This paper describes our experiences with undertaking measurements of total antimony and antimony speciation in algae, plant and animal tissues. Digestion with nitric acid alone is suitable to release antimony from animal tissues. When organisms have high silica contents, e.g. some plants and algae, the addition of tetrafluorboric acid is required to dissolve silica as some antimony is retained by silica in extracts. Antimony in digested extracts is present as Sb5+ and hydride generation procedures can be used to determine total antimony concentrations, as total antimony in extracts will not be under estimated. Relatively non-aggressive solvents such as water, dilute nitric acid, sodium hydroxide and enzymes remove highly variable amounts of antimony (2-84%) from algae, plant and animal tissues. Addition of Sb3+ and Sb5+ to NIST CRM 1572 Citrus Leaves, pre- and post-extraction with water showed that Sb3+ is oxidised to Sb5+ while Sb5+ is redistributed amongst binding sites giving rise to artefacts. DOLT-2 and algae extracts indicated the presence of only inorganic antimony. A moss sample had inorganic antimony and a number of unknown antimony species in extracts. Future studies should explore the nature of the binding of antimony in tissues as solvents commonly used to extract metals and metalloids from algae, plant and animal tissues are not appropriate.

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