Environmental science and pollution research international

The suitability of extraction solutions to assess bioaccessible trace metal fractions in airborne particulate matter: a comparison of common leaching agents.

PMID 26081774


The determination of bioaccessible metal concentrations and/or fractions is a prerequisite for reliable assessment of the hazardous potential of toxic trace metals present in airborne particulate matter (APM). For this purpose, the use of various leaching agents has been reported in literature. The applied reagents reveal severe differences in composition. Therefore, variations in the amounts of trace metals released from APM samples could be expected with the use of these agents, hampering comparison of literature data. In this work, bioaccessible metal fractions were determined in PM10 samples from Graz, Austria, and Karachi, Pakistan, using synthetic gastric juice (SGJ), artificial lysosomal fluid (ALF), Gamble's solution, aqueous solutions of sodium chloride, ammonium acetate, ammonium citrate, and water for sample extraction. Investigated trace metals showed distinct differences in extractable fractions for the same extractant. For example, bioaccessible contents ranged from 34.8 ± 13.3% for Ni (n = 12) to 77.9 ± 14.8% for Cd (n = 12) when SGJ was used for extraction. Furthermore, extraction yields for the applied leaching agents were determined, indicating for all investigated elements two to four times more efficient extraction with SGJ, ammonium citrate buffer, and ALF as compared to water and simple inorganic salt solutions, indicating that ammonium citrate buffer could be used as an alternative for synthetic body fluids with rather complex composition.