Facultade de Fisioterapia

On-line high performance liquid-chromatographic separation and cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometric determination of methylmercury and inorganic mercury

Authors: Susana Rio Segade, Carlos Bendicho

Journal: Talanta, 48: 477-484, 02/1999

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0039-9140(98)00269-0


A reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method with cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS) detection is developed for mercury speciation. In this paper, the efficiency of tetrabutylammonium bromide reagent and sodium chloride in a methanol–water mixture as mobile phase is evaluated for HPLC separation of methylmercury and inorganic mercury coupled with on-line CV-AAS determination. Both mercury species are separated on a reversed-phase C18 column. Several parameters (e.g. composition and flow-rate of mobile phase) are investigated for the optimization of HPLC separations. CV-AAS technique parameters are also studied for their effect on sensitivity (sodium borohydride and sodium hydroxide concentrations in the reducing agent, reducing agent flow-rate, length of the reduction coil and nitrogen flow-rate). Quantitative recoveries for both inorganic mercury and methylmercury are obtained from a spiked natural water sample.