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Mercury speciation analysis in terrestrial animal tissues.


PMID 22967634

Abstract

No previous analytical procedures are available and validated for mercury speciation analysis in terrestrial animal tissues. This analysis is a difficult task both because the expected concentrations are low, since important accumulation process are not likely to occur, and also because there are not commercially available certified reference material. Thus, an analytical methodology has been developed and validated for mercury speciation for the specific case of terrestrial animal tissues. The proposed method is based on the quantitative extraction of the species by closed-vessel microwave assisted heating with an alkaline reagent, followed by ethylation. The ethylated derivatives were then submitted to head-space solid phase microextraction with a 100 μm polidimethylsiloxane-coated fiber, and desorbed onto a gas chromatograph coupled to atomic fluorescence detection via pyrolysis unit (HS-SPME-GC-pyro-AFS). Procedural detection limits were 31.8 ng g(-1) and 52.5 ng g(-1) for CH(3)Hg(+) and Hg(2+), respectively, for liver and 35.3 ng g(-1) and 58.1 ng g(-1) for CH(3)Hg(+) and Hg(2+), respectively, for kidney. These limits of detection are 5.5 and 6 times better than the obtained without solid phase microextraction for CH(3)Hg(+) and Hg(2+), respectively. The methodology was found linear up to 120 μg L(-1) and reproducible from one day to the following. It was validated with certified reference materials NCS ZC 71001 (beef liver) and BCR No 186 (pig kidney) for total mercury, calculated as the sum of species, and with spiked red deer liver and kidney for speciation. Finally, it was applied to the analysis of samples of red deer liver, red deer kidney and wild boar kidney coming from the Almadén's mercury mining area (Ciudad Real, Spain), the longest and largest producer of mercury in the world until its closure in 2002.

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