Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract A fully automated system for the direct determination of methylmercury (MeHg), ethylmercury (EtHg), phenylmercury (PhHg), and inorganic mercury (Hg(II)) at the ng/L level is described. It is based on solid phase extraction preconcentration incorporated in a flow injection (FI) system, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separation, reduction combined with thermolysis and determination by cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CVAAS). For preconcentration a microcolumn of bonded silica with octadecyl functional groups (C18 reversed phase material) was used as a sorbent for the mercury complexes formed on-line with ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate. Retained mercury species are eluted with a methanol-acetonitrile-water mixture and subjected to separation on an octadecylsilane (ODS) column before determination by CVAAS. The sensitivity of organo-mercury determination could be improved by using NaBH4 as a reductant combined with a thermolysis step. In order to perform on-line measurements the preconcentration microcolumn was mounted in a pressure-tight casing. Limits of detection for MeHg, EtHg, PhHg and Hg(II) employing a sample volume of 58.5 mL were 9, 6, 10 and 5 ng/L, respectively. The relative standard deviation (RSD) calculated from 9 repeated measurements was found to be 3.6%, 5.5%, 10.4% and 7.6% for MeHg, EtHg, PhHg and Hg(II), respectively. Finally, the application of this method for speciation of mercury in fish and human urine is described.
Type of Medium: