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Article Title

Determination of methyl- and inorganic mercury in fish using focused microwave digestion followed by Cu++ addition, sodium tetraethylborate derivatization, n-heptane extraction, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry

Abstract

The analytical procedure for analysis of methyl- and inorganic mercury in fish was developed in this study. It involved microwave-assisted digestion with alkaline solution (tetra methyl ammonium hydroxide), addition of Cu++, aqueous-phase derivatization of mercury species with sodium tetraethylborate, and subsequent extraction with n-heptane. The various mercury derivatives were desorbed in the splitless injection port of a gas chromatograph and subsequently analyzed by electron impact mass spectrometry. Optimum conditions allowed the sample throughout to be controlled by the instrumental analysis time (about 8 min per sample) but not by the sample preparation step. At the irradiation power of 15-30, 45, and 60-75 W, sample heating times were only 3.5, 2.5, and 1.5 min, respectively. The recoveries of mercury species were 92.3-96.1% and 93.6-95.5% for methyl- and inorganic mercury, respectively. The proposed method was finally validated by the analysis of three biological certified reference materials (BCR CRM 464 tuna fish, NRC DORM-2 dogfish muscle, and NRC DOLT-2 dogfish liver).

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