Analytical challenges in the determination and speciation of mercury in the marine environment

Christine Davidson, Helen Keenan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Improved understanding of the role of mercury as a global pollutant relies on the availability of accurate, reliable analytical methods to determine both total mercury concentration and, often more importantly, specific mercury species in environmental samples such as seawater, marine biota and sediment. Several instrumental analytical techniques are well established for measuring total mercury in aquatic samples and solid sample extracts, notably cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry, atomic fluorescence spectrometry and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. However, there is less agreement on the best methods to use to extract analyte from solid samples prior to quantification, especially where the goal is to obtain not total, but species-specific information in order to estimate risk of mercury mobilisation or bioavailability. Numerous approaches are reported in literature [1, 2]. This lack of harmonised methodology means that different analysts may generate different results from the same samples, rendering impossible the comparison of data produced in different laboratories or countries and thus undermining attempts to implement a global strategy for the management of mercury. A further analytical challenge is the lack of suitable certified reference materials (CRMs) for use in validation of analytical methods, especially methods of speciation analysis. Although some are available, a wider range needs to be produced so that workers have available CRMs that closely match the samples studied in terms of their matrix composition and approximate pollutant concentrations. Finally, given the probably increase in numbers of samples to be analysed for their mercury content in the next decade, especially in developing countries where complex laboratory facilities may be limited or non-existent, there is a need for the development of simple, field-deployable methods of analysis. These can be used as screening test to gain rapid information on approximate mercury levels in samples. More complex and costly laboratory-based analyses can then be restricted to only those samples identified as of particular interest due, for example, to the presence of high analyte concentrations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 28 Jul 2011
Event10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant - Halifax, Canada
Duration: 24 Jul 201129 Jul 2011

Conference

Conference10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant
CountryCanada
CityHalifax
Period24/07/1129/07/11

Fingerprint

Mercury
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
Atomic absorption spectrometry
Seawater
Developing countries
Spectrometry
Screening
Sediments
Fluorescence
Vapors
Availability
Chemical analysis

Keywords

  • mercury
  • mining industries
  • civil engineering
  • speciation

Cite this

Davidson, C., & Keenan, H. (2011). Analytical challenges in the determination and speciation of mercury in the marine environment. Paper presented at 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Halifax, Canada.
Davidson, Christine ; Keenan, Helen. / Analytical challenges in the determination and speciation of mercury in the marine environment. Paper presented at 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Halifax, Canada.
@conference{3942de5fc7e547ab91cfb3cbceaea07c,
title = "Analytical challenges in the determination and speciation of mercury in the marine environment",
abstract = "Improved understanding of the role of mercury as a global pollutant relies on the availability of accurate, reliable analytical methods to determine both total mercury concentration and, often more importantly, specific mercury species in environmental samples such as seawater, marine biota and sediment. Several instrumental analytical techniques are well established for measuring total mercury in aquatic samples and solid sample extracts, notably cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry, atomic fluorescence spectrometry and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. However, there is less agreement on the best methods to use to extract analyte from solid samples prior to quantification, especially where the goal is to obtain not total, but species-specific information in order to estimate risk of mercury mobilisation or bioavailability. Numerous approaches are reported in literature [1, 2]. This lack of harmonised methodology means that different analysts may generate different results from the same samples, rendering impossible the comparison of data produced in different laboratories or countries and thus undermining attempts to implement a global strategy for the management of mercury. A further analytical challenge is the lack of suitable certified reference materials (CRMs) for use in validation of analytical methods, especially methods of speciation analysis. Although some are available, a wider range needs to be produced so that workers have available CRMs that closely match the samples studied in terms of their matrix composition and approximate pollutant concentrations. Finally, given the probably increase in numbers of samples to be analysed for their mercury content in the next decade, especially in developing countries where complex laboratory facilities may be limited or non-existent, there is a need for the development of simple, field-deployable methods of analysis. These can be used as screening test to gain rapid information on approximate mercury levels in samples. More complex and costly laboratory-based analyses can then be restricted to only those samples identified as of particular interest due, for example, to the presence of high analyte concentrations.",
keywords = "mercury, mining industries, civil engineering, speciation",
author = "Christine Davidson and Helen Keenan",
year = "2011",
month = "7",
day = "28",
language = "English",
note = "10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant ; Conference date: 24-07-2011 Through 29-07-2011",

}

Davidson, C & Keenan, H 2011, 'Analytical challenges in the determination and speciation of mercury in the marine environment' Paper presented at 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Halifax, Canada, 24/07/11 - 29/07/11, .

Analytical challenges in the determination and speciation of mercury in the marine environment. / Davidson, Christine; Keenan, Helen.

2011. Paper presented at 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Halifax, Canada.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

TY - CONF

T1 - Analytical challenges in the determination and speciation of mercury in the marine environment

AU - Davidson, Christine

AU - Keenan, Helen

PY - 2011/7/28

Y1 - 2011/7/28

N2 - Improved understanding of the role of mercury as a global pollutant relies on the availability of accurate, reliable analytical methods to determine both total mercury concentration and, often more importantly, specific mercury species in environmental samples such as seawater, marine biota and sediment. Several instrumental analytical techniques are well established for measuring total mercury in aquatic samples and solid sample extracts, notably cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry, atomic fluorescence spectrometry and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. However, there is less agreement on the best methods to use to extract analyte from solid samples prior to quantification, especially where the goal is to obtain not total, but species-specific information in order to estimate risk of mercury mobilisation or bioavailability. Numerous approaches are reported in literature [1, 2]. This lack of harmonised methodology means that different analysts may generate different results from the same samples, rendering impossible the comparison of data produced in different laboratories or countries and thus undermining attempts to implement a global strategy for the management of mercury. A further analytical challenge is the lack of suitable certified reference materials (CRMs) for use in validation of analytical methods, especially methods of speciation analysis. Although some are available, a wider range needs to be produced so that workers have available CRMs that closely match the samples studied in terms of their matrix composition and approximate pollutant concentrations. Finally, given the probably increase in numbers of samples to be analysed for their mercury content in the next decade, especially in developing countries where complex laboratory facilities may be limited or non-existent, there is a need for the development of simple, field-deployable methods of analysis. These can be used as screening test to gain rapid information on approximate mercury levels in samples. More complex and costly laboratory-based analyses can then be restricted to only those samples identified as of particular interest due, for example, to the presence of high analyte concentrations.

AB - Improved understanding of the role of mercury as a global pollutant relies on the availability of accurate, reliable analytical methods to determine both total mercury concentration and, often more importantly, specific mercury species in environmental samples such as seawater, marine biota and sediment. Several instrumental analytical techniques are well established for measuring total mercury in aquatic samples and solid sample extracts, notably cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry, atomic fluorescence spectrometry and inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry. However, there is less agreement on the best methods to use to extract analyte from solid samples prior to quantification, especially where the goal is to obtain not total, but species-specific information in order to estimate risk of mercury mobilisation or bioavailability. Numerous approaches are reported in literature [1, 2]. This lack of harmonised methodology means that different analysts may generate different results from the same samples, rendering impossible the comparison of data produced in different laboratories or countries and thus undermining attempts to implement a global strategy for the management of mercury. A further analytical challenge is the lack of suitable certified reference materials (CRMs) for use in validation of analytical methods, especially methods of speciation analysis. Although some are available, a wider range needs to be produced so that workers have available CRMs that closely match the samples studied in terms of their matrix composition and approximate pollutant concentrations. Finally, given the probably increase in numbers of samples to be analysed for their mercury content in the next decade, especially in developing countries where complex laboratory facilities may be limited or non-existent, there is a need for the development of simple, field-deployable methods of analysis. These can be used as screening test to gain rapid information on approximate mercury levels in samples. More complex and costly laboratory-based analyses can then be restricted to only those samples identified as of particular interest due, for example, to the presence of high analyte concentrations.

KW - mercury

KW - mining industries

KW - civil engineering

KW - speciation

UR - http://mercury2011.org/program-s13

M3 - Paper

ER -

Davidson C, Keenan H. Analytical challenges in the determination and speciation of mercury in the marine environment. 2011. Paper presented at 10th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Halifax, Canada.