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Measurement of Mercury Species in Human Blood using Triple Spike Isotope Dilution with SPME-GC-ICP-DRC-MS
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  • Alternative Title:
    Anal Bioanal Chem
  • Description:
    The measurement of different mercury compounds in human blood can provide valuable information about the type of mercury exposure. To this end, our laboratory developed a biomonitoring method for the quantification of inorganic (iHg), methyl (MeHg), and ethyl (EtHg) mercury in whole blood using a triple-spike isotope dilution (TSID) quantification method employing capillary gas chromatography (GC) and inductively coupled dynamic reaction cell mass spectrometry (ICP-DRC-MS). We used a robotic CombiPAL(®) sample handling station featuring twin fiber-based solid-phase microextraction (SPME) injector heads. The use of two SPME fibers significantly reduces sample analysis cycle times making this method very suitable for high sample throughput, which is a requirement for large public health biomonitoring studies. Our sample preparation procedure involved solubilization of blood samples with tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) followed by the derivatization with sodium tetra(n-propyl)borate (NaBPr(4)) to promote volatility of mercury species. We thoroughly investigated mercury species stability in the blood matrix during the course of sample treatment and analysis. The method accuracy for quantifying iHg, MeHg, and EtHg was validated using NIST standard reference materials (SRM 955c level 3) and the Centre de Toxicologie du Québec (CTQ) proficiency testing (PT) samples. The limit of detection (LOD) for iHg, MeHg, and EtHg in human blood was determined to be 0.27, 0.12, and 0.16 μg/L, respectively.
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