Developing a method for the determination of sulphur and other elements in avian bone and slag using ETV-ICPOES†
The Sudbury Basin in Ontario, Canada, has been heavily mined for over 150 years due to the presence of sulphide ores rich in nickel and copper. Slag is a by-product of the process of extracting metals from their raw ores; it is a mixture of metal oxides and contains significant quantities of sulphur. Avian species in the region are known to be ingesting slag, exposing them to sulphur and several metals which may accumulate in bone tissue. Using electrothermal vaporization inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ETV-ICPOES), a method of direct analysis of solid samples was developed for the determination of both bulk (Al, Ca, Fe, Mg, S) and trace (Ag, As, Au, Ba, Cd, Ce, Co, Cr, Cs, Cu, Dy, Eu, Ga, Hf, Hg, Ho, In, K, La, Mn, Mo, Na, Nd, Ni, P, Pb, Rb, Sb, Sc, Se, Si, Sm, Sr, Ti, U, V, W, Yb, Zn, Zr) elements present in avian bone and slag samples. External calibration was performed with Durum Wheat Flour DUWF-1 (National Research Council of Canada), NIST 8433 corn bran, and NIST 2711 Montana soil for the analysis of bone samples; blast furnace slag SL-1 (Natural Resources Canada) was used for the analysis of major elements in slag. Point-by-point internal standardization was performed with argon to compensate for sample loading effects on the plasma; the method was validated using NIST 8433 corn bran for concentrations of the major elements. The developed method allowed for the analysis of two avian (Columba Livia Domestica) tibiotarsal bone samples, and one sample of slag, originating from the Sudbury Basin, in Ontario, Canada.