Applications of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to the determination of environmental contaminants in calcified biological structures
Many calcified biological structures record changes in organism exposure to environmental contamination. Preservation of spatial and temporal information on historical changes in contaminants within a structure demands direct analysis of the solid samples. Laser ablation sampling (LAS) is a technique which offers the potential to undertake such analyses. This paper outlines changes made to hardware and software of a commercial sampler to allow auto sampling of solid materials in conjunction with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The potential of LAS coupled to ICP-MS for spatially resolved analysis is demonstrated with measurements on several different types of calcified biological structures which incorporate trace metal contaminants at the time of deposition. The results indicate that changes in concentration in several trace metals are detectable and that the changes most likely relate to changes in exposure.