Editors’ Series: ICP-MS for Arsenic Speciation

This presentation was recorded on December 05, 2014.


ICP-MS, interfaced with either an ion chromatography (IC) or liquid chromatography (LC) system, has become the gold standard for the speciation of arsenic in environmental matrices because of its high selectivity and highly sensitive detection. Given that inorganic arsenic in rice has become an important issue globally, more and more laboratories are adopting hyphenated ICP-MS approaches. More sophisticated speciation is also possible by using dual electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and ICP-MS detection on the same chromatographic run where exotic arsenic species need to be qualified, or when arsenic is complexed, such as in phytochelatin complexes. There are pitfalls to considered in commonly used anionic LC–ICP-MS approaches, most commonly that arsenite is eluted near or at the solvent front where cationic species will also be eluted. IC technology can avoid these problems, although sample storage and preparation need to be considered to ensure that arsenite and arsenate concentrations are not artifacts. In many situations it is preferable to oxidize arsenite to arsenate and just quantify total inorganic arsenic.


Andy Meharg
Chair, Plant and Soil Science
Queen’s University, Belfast

Laura Bush
Editorial Director
LCGC and Spectroscopy

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