Quantification of Tl (I) and Tl (III) based on microcolumn separation through ICP-MS in river sediment pore water

  • Atta Rasool
  • Tangfu XiaoEmail author
  • Salar Ali
  • Waqar Ali
  • Wajid Nasim
Research Article


Thallium (Tl) is a typical toxic element, whose biological effects and geochemical behavior are closely related with its chemical speciation in the environment. In this context, the objective of the present study was to develope an effective method for separation of Tl (I) and Tl (III) based on solid-phase extraction (SPE) using anion exchange resin AG1-X8 as a sorbent and ICP-MS measurement. In this proposed method, Tl (I) and Tl (III) could be separated by selective adsorption of Tl (III)-DTPA in the resin, while Tl (III) was eluted by the solution mixed with HCl and SO2. The validity of this method was confirmed by assays of standard solutions of Tl (I) and Tl (III), as well as with spike of contaminated samples. The present study results revealed that higher concentration of Tl (I) (245.48 μg/l) and Tl (III) (20.92 μg/l) had been found near the acid mine drainage (AMD) sample of sediment pore water. The results revealed that Tl (I) of 61.47 μg/l and Tl (III) of 9.73 μg/l were present in the river water contaminated by acid mine drainage. This thallium speciation analysis implied that the dominant Tl (I) species in the river water studied might be due to the weathering of sulfide mineral–bearing rocks, mining, and smelting activities in the studied area.


Thallium speciation Stability Acid mine drainages ICP-MS Chemical separation Solid-phase extraction 



Constructive comments and helpful suggestions from the reviewers are acknowledged, which have helped improve this manuscript considerably.

Funding information

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant numbers 41830753, U1612442, and 41673138].

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atta Rasool
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tangfu Xiao
    • 4
    Email author
  • Salar Ali
    • 5
  • Waqar Ali
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wajid Nasim
    • 6
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of SciencesInstitute of GeochemistryGuiyangChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesCOMSATS University , Islamabad (CUI), Vehari 61100, PakistanVehariPakistan
  4. 4.Key Laboratory for Water Quality and Conservation of the Pearl River Delta, Ministry of Education; School of Environmental Science and EngineeringGuangzhou UniversityGuangzhouChina
  5. 5.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of BaltistanSkarduPakistan
  6. 6.Department of AgronomyUniversity College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB)BahawalpurPakistan

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