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Anal Chem. 2015 Nov 3;87(21):11122-9. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b03303. Epub 2015 Oct 26.

Nanogold-Decorated Silica Monoliths as Highly Efficient Solid-Phase Adsorbent for Ultratrace Mercury Analysis in Natural Waters.

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Institute for Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, University of Ulm , Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89081 Ulm, Germany.
Geochemistry and Hydrogeology, University of Bremen , Klagenfurter Straße, 28359 Bremen, Germany.
Geosciences Environment Toulouse, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, Université Paul Sabatier , 14 avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France.
Inorganic Chemistry II, University of Ulm , Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89081 Ulm, Germany.


We propose a novel analytical method for mercury (Hg) trace determination based on direct Hg preconcentration from aqueous solution onto a gold nanoparticle-decorated silica monolith (AuNP@SiO2). Detection of Hg is performed after thermal desorption by means of atomic fluorescence spectrometry. This new methodology benefits from reagent-free, time- and cost-saving procedure, due to most efficient solid-phase adsorbent and results in high sensitive quantification. The excellent analytical performance of the whole procedure is demonstrated by a limit of detection as low as 1.31 ng L(-1) for only one-min accumulation duration. A good reproducibility with standard deviations ≤5.4% is given. The feasibility of the approach in natural waters was confirmed by a recovery experiment in spiked seawater with a recovery rate of 101%. Moreover, the presented method was validated through reference analysis of a submarine groundwater discharge sample by cold vapor-atomic fluorescence spectrometry resulting in a very good agreement of the found values. Hence the novel method is a very promising new tool for low-level Hg monitoring in natural waters providing easy-handling on-site preconcentration, reagent-free stabilization as well as reagent-free, highly sensitive detection.

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