Amid the traditional development and applications work reported during the period covered by this review, the most obvious identifiable trend is that of downsizing. This is seen with techniques requiring smaller sample sizes or more effective analyte pre-concentration, and with new instrumentation. Procedures for extraction included the use of nanoparticles in various ways and the single-drop methodology with one example exploiting 1-dodecanol, a material that shifts between liquid and solid states at around room temperature. Hand held instrumentation is commonplace in some application areas but less so within the sector covered by this Update. However an XRF device was used to carry out limit tests for harmful metals in pharmaceutical agents. The potential for expansion of in vivo testing is now on the horizon with the development of a portable XRF instrument. Other features to mention are the larger than usual number of topics reviewed and the publication of several reference ranges for trace elements in biological fluids and also results from market-basket surveys. Application areas that were mentioned more than usual were studies involving the brain, CSF and neural function, and measurements of iodine including one method that involved vapour generation for ICP-AES. New approaches to establishing the authenticity of foods and food labelling were reported and examples of discrepancies between amounts measured and the stated contents were identified. A new writer, John Marshall, is welcomed to the team with primary responsibility for preparing the foods and beverages table.
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