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Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

Mercury speciation in thawed out and refrozen fish samples by gas chromatography coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and atomic fluorescence spectroscopy.


PMID 15292976

Abstract

Different sub-sampling procedures were applied for the determination of mercury species (as total mercury Hg, methylmercury MeHg+ and inorganic mercury Hg2+) in frozen fish meat. Analyses were carried out by two different techniques. After the sample material was pre-treated by microwave digestion, atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (AFS) was used for the determination of total Hg. Speciation analysis was performed according to the following procedure: dissolution of sample material in tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH), derivatisation with sodium tetraethylborate (NaBEt4), extraction into isooctane and measurement with gas chromatography inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (GC-ICPMS) for the identification and quantification of methylmercury (MeHg+) and inorganic mercury (Hg2+). The concentration range of total Hg measured in the shark fillets is between 0.9 and 3.6 microg g(-1) thawed out shark fillet. Speciation analysis leads to > or =94% Hg present as MeHg+. Homogeneity, storage conditions and stability of analytical species and sample materials have great influence on analytical results. Sub-sampling of half-frozen/partly thawed out fish and analysis lead to significantly different concentrations, which are on average a factor of two lower.

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