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Selenium speciation in soil extracts using LC-ICP-MS

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Selenium (Se) speciation in soil affects its bioavailability to crops. An analytical procedure for the determination of inorganic Se species (selenite and selenate) in soil extracts by anion-exchange liquid chromatography (LC) with ICP-MS detection has been developed, with 10-fold higher sensitivity than existing HGAAS-based soil Se measurements. A comparison of phosphate extraction solutions on agricultural soils amended with 20 µg kg–1 selenate or selenite was carried out, and a 0.016 M KH2PO4 extraction solution is recommended. Recovery of selenate was >91%; however, selenite recovery ranged between 18.5% and 46.1%, due to rapid binding to the soil. Soil preparation did not have a significant (p > 0.05) effect on the extractability of the selenate or selenite amendments. The stability of Se species in the phosphate extracts was variable, depending on temperature and storage time. Therefore, immediate (<1 h) analysis of the soil extracts is preferable. The method developed was applied to the determination of extractable Se from six arable soils in the UK. Extractable Se levels in these soils ranged between 6 and 13 µg kg–1 consisting of selenite and some soluble organic Se.
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Keywords: LC-ICP-MS; selenate; selenite; selenium speciation; soil

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Soil Science Department,Rothamsted Research, HarpendenHertfordshire AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom

Publication date: February 15, 2012

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