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Polymer Inclusion Membrane as an Effective Sorbent To Facilitate Mercury Storage and Detection by X-ray Fluorescence in Natural Waters

Elias, Gemma, Marguí, Eva, Díez, Sergi, Fontàs, Clàudia
Analytical chemistry 2018 v.90 no.7 pp. 4756-4763
X-radiation, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, detection limit, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, fluorescence, groundwater, ionic liquids, mercury, polymers, quaternary ammonium compounds, rivers, seawater, sorbents, tap water
A novel and simple method is presented for the preconcentration and determination of mercury (Hg) from natural waters through its extraction into a polymer inclusion membrane (PIM) containing the task-specific ionic liquid trioctylmethylammonium thiosalicylate (TOMATS) followed by Energy Dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) analysis. The determination was made directly on the membrane without any treatment or elution step, and due to the characteristics of the PIM no matrix or thickness corrections were required in EDXRF analysis. Under the best extracting and EDXRF operating conditions, a Hg limit of detection of 0.2 μg Hg L–¹ was obtained. Moreover, no water matrix effect was observed when Hg was extracted from different types of water such as river, seawater, groundwater, and tap water, showing this extraction system as a global solution when dealing with natural waters. Interestingly, this Hg collected in the PIM has shown to be stable for at least 6 months without the use of any preservative. This fact is of prime importance taking into account the usual stability problems of Hg during sample storage.