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Simultaneous Determination of Methylmercury and Ethylmercury in Rice by Capillary Gas Chromatography Coupled On-line with Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry

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A comprehensive method for simultaneous determination of methylmercury (MeHg) and ethylmercury (EtHg) in rice by capillary gas chromatography (GC) coupled on-line with atomic fluorescence spectrometry was developed. The experimental conditions, including the pyrolyzer temperature and flow rates of the make-up gas and sheath gas, were optimized in detail. The absolute detection limits (3σ) were 0.005 ng as Hg for both MeHg and EtHg. The relative standard deviation values (n = 5) for 10 ng Hg/mL of MeHg and EtHg were 2.5 and 1.3%, respectively. The method was evaluated by analyzing 2 certified reference materials (DORM-2 and GBW08508), and the determined values of MeHg and total mercury concentrations were in good agreement with the certified values. In addition, the recoveries of MeHg and EtHg spiked into a rice sample collected from Jiangsu province in China were 86 and 77%, respectively. The proposed method was applied to analysis of MeHg and EtHg in 25 rice samples cultivated in 15 provinces of China. In all samples, MeHg was detectable and no EtHg was found. The MeHg contents in rice samples ranged from 1.9 to 10.5 ng/g, accounting for 7–44% of the total mercury measured.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Key Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, PO Box 2871, Beijing, 100085, People's Republic of China.

Publication date: 2005-03-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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