An ultrasonic bath and an ultrasonic probe have been used to develop rapid versions of the three-stage Community Bureau of Reference (BCR, now the Standards, Measurement and Testing Programme) sequential extraction procedure. The effect of the ultrasonic treatments on the extraction of copper, iron, manganese and zinc from a sewage sludge-amended soil has been assessed. Recoveries similar to those of conventional shaking (i.e., conventional value, +/- 30%) could generally be obtained for copper, manganese and zinc, but not for the important matrix element iron. With the use of compromise sonication conditions, steps 1, 2 and 3 of the sequential extraction (excluding the hydrogen peroxide digestion in step 3, which was not performed with sonication) could be completed in 3, 5 and 1 min, respectively, using the ultrasonic probe, and in 3, 1 and 1 h, respectively, using the bath. The extraction procedures developed using the soil performed well when applied to lake sediment BCR CRM 601. Analyte partitioning was generally similar to that obtained with mechanical shaking, and overall metal recoveries were 84-98% of those obtained with the conventional BCR protocol, except for copper extracted with the probe (74%). Poorer performance (analyte recoveries, 58-104%) was obtained when the methods were applied to an intertidal sediment. This highlights the difficulty of developing a version of the BCR extraction, with ultrasonic assistance, which gives a performance equivalent to conventional shaking when applied to different substrates.
- RIVER SEDIMENTS