Atomic spectrometry update. Clinical and biological materials, foods and beverages
This review of the literature from 2007 saw a number of interesting trends but few innovations. XRF continues to develop within the clinical context both for quantitative analysis and for in vivo investigations. Work relating to kidney, thyroid and prostate gland all hint at potential areas for further application of the technique. Imaging, to show distribution of trace elements in relation to the morphology of structures, is another activity that is increasing in importance. Techniques such as XRF, SIMS and LA-ICP-MS have been used for this purpose. Destruction of tissues by acid in pressure bombs was first used long ago but a couple of new devices were described for the rapid and efficient pressurised extraction of analytes into solvent. Interest in ultrasonication to assist extraction, mentioned in our last ASU, continues to be evident. An unusual trick was to couple two nebulizers to the ICP used for AES, one for conventional sample introduction, the second for volatile hydrides. Much of the work reported during the year was directed at speciation analysis and how this may lend an insight into the metabolism of As, Se and other elements. Such work now has the umbrella term of metallomics (or even elementomics) and is providing an abundant harvest of new compounds, some of which remain unidentified and some of which may turn out to be artefacts from the extraction and analytical procedures. Despite the interest and concern among the general public for organically produced and genetically modified foods, any implications for trace elements has received little attention. This year, however, has seen references to transgenic corn and to organically produced fruit juices. The writing team would welcome feedback from readers of this review and invite you to complete the Atomic Spectrometry Updates questionnaire on http://www.asureviews.org.