Mercury pollution assessment in soils affected by industrial emissions using miniaturized ultrasonic probe extraction and ICP-MS
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A combination of probe ultrasonic extraction, optimized by surface response methodology, and Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) detection is described in this work as an effective methodology for mercury monitoring in soils affected by industrial emissions. Minute amounts of samples (typically 20 mg) can be extracted in 3 min by 1 mL of HCl-based extracting solution, without risk of mercury losses, and sub sequentially assayed by ICP-MS. The method was successfully tested on soil standard reference materials and then applied to mercury monitoring in a large set of real soil samples collected during a long-term monitoring survey (2007–2011) around the industrial area of Puchuncaví, Chile. The method proved to be useful for investigation of spatial and temporal mercury variability in the area, showing an intermediate to high mercury contamination with potential impact on the surrounding ecosystem.
KeywordsMercury Soil Ultrasonic extraction Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry Hierarchical cluster analysis Contamination indexes
This work is supported by the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID project A1/037813/11) and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (project CTQ2011-25388). We acknowledge a grant from Junta de Extremadura, Spain (PRE09107). The authors thank N. Ríos for her technical assistance with soil samples processing.
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