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Issue 5, 2011
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Trace-level automated mercury speciation analysis

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An automated system for methyl Hg analysis by purge and trap gas chromatography (GC) was evaluated, with comparison of several different instrument configurations including chromatography columns (packed column or capillary), detector (atomic fluorescence, AFS, or inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, ICP-MS, using quadrupole and sector field ICP-MS instruments). Method detection limits (MDL) of 0.042 pg and 0.030 pg for CH3Hg+ were achieved with the automated Hg analysis system configured with AFS and ICP-MS detection, respectively. Capillary GC with temperature programming was effective in improving resolution and decreasing retention times of heavier Hg species (in this case C3H7Hg+) although carryover between samples was increased. With capillary GC, the MDL for CH3Hg+ was 0.25 pg for AFS detection and 0.060 pg for ICP-MS detection. The automated system was demonstrated to have high throughput (72 samples analyzed in 8 h) requiring considerably less analyst time than the manual method for CH3Hg+ analysis described in EPA 1630.

Graphical abstract: Trace-level automated mercury speciation analysis

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Publication details

The article was received on 30 Aug 2010, accepted on 15 Mar 2011 and first published on 04 Apr 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0AY00528B
Citation: Anal. Methods, 2011,3, 1143-1148
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    Trace-level automated mercury speciation analysis

    V. F. Taylor, A. Carter, C. Davies and B. P. Jackson, Anal. Methods, 2011, 3, 1143
    DOI: 10.1039/C0AY00528B

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