Selenium speciation in enriched and natural samples by HPLC-ICP-MS and HPLC-ESI-MS with perfluorinated carboxylic acid ion-pairing agentsPresented at SAC 99, Dublin, Ireland, July 25–30, 1999.
Selenium-enriched plants, such as hyperaccumulative phytoremediation plants (Astragalus praleongus, 517 μg g−1 Se, and Brassica juncea, 138 μg g−1 Se in dry sample), yeast (1200, 1922 and 2100, μg g−1 Se in dry sample), ramp (Allium tricoccum, 48, 77, 230, 252, 405 and 524 μg g−1 Se in dry sample), onion (Allium cepa, 96 and 140 μg g−1 Se in dry sample) and garlic (Allium sativum, 68, 112, 135, 296, 1355 μg g−1 Se in dry sample) were analyzed by HPLC-ICP-MS for their selenium content and speciation after hot water and enzymatic extractions. Reference samples with natural selenium levels, such as onion and garlic controls, cooking garlic powder, baking yeast powder and a commercial garlic supplement were also analyzed. Selected samples were also examined by HPLC-electrospray ionization (ESI)-MS. HPLC was mostly carried out with 0.1% heptafluorobutanoic acid (HFBA) as ion-pairing agent in 1 + 99 v/v methanol–water solution, but 0.1% trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) in 1 + 99 v/v methanol–water solution was also utilized to permit chromatography for compounds that did not elute with HFBA. More than 75% of the total eluting selenium compounds, based upon element specific detection, were identified from retention time data and standard spiking experiments, and between 60 and 85% of compounds were identified by MS, with up to 25% of the total eluting molecular selenium species being unidentified as yet. Limits of quantification (LOQ, defined as the concentration giving an S/N of 10) for HPLC-ICP-MS were in the range 2–50 ng mL−1 Se in the injected extracts for the selenium-enriched samples and 2–10 ng mL−1 Se for the natural selenium level samples. LOQ values for HPLC-ESI-MS were ca. 100 times higher than those measured by HPLC-ICP-MS.