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Talanta. 2007 May 15;72(3):1207-16. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2007.01.014. Epub 2007 Jan 16.

Multielemental speciation of trace elements in estuarine waters with automated on-site UV photolysis and resin chelation coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

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Laboratoire de Chimie Analytique Bio-Inorganique et Environnement, CNRS UMR 5034, UPPA, Hélioparc, Pau 64053, France.


An integrated approach for the accurate determination of total, labile and organically bound dissolved trace metal concentration in the field is presented. Two independent automated platforms consisting of an ultraviolet (UV) on-line unit and a chelation/preconcentration/matrix elimination module were specifically developed to process samples on-site to avoid sample storage prior to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis. The speciation scheme allowed simultaneous discrimination between labile and organic stable dissolved species of seven trace elements including Cd, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, U and Zn, using only 5ml of sample with detection limits ranging between 0.6ngl(-1) for Cd and 33ngl(-1) for Ni. The influence of UV photolysis on organic matter and its associated metal complexes was investigated by fluorescence spectroscopy and validated against natural samples spiked with humic substances standards. The chelation/preconcentration/matrix elimination procedure was validated against an artificial seawater spiked sample and two certified reference materials (SLRS-4 and CASS-4) to ensure homogenous performance across freshwater, estuarine and seawater samples. The speciation scheme was applied to two natural freshwater and seawater samples collected in the Adour Estuary (Southwestern, France) and processed in the field. The results indicated that the organic complexation levels were high and unchanged for Cu in both samples, whereas different signatures were observed for Cd, Mn, Ni, Pb, U and Zn, suggesting organic ligands of different origin and/or their transformation/alteration along estuarine water mixing.

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