Authors: E. Castro, Isela Lavilla, Carlos Bendicho
Journal: Talanta, 71: 51-55, 01/2007
Ultraviolet irradiation (photolysis) in alkaline medium was applied for pretreatment of seawater samples so as to accurately determine total As by continuous-flow hydride generation-atomic fluorescence spectrometry. This sample pretreatment is meant to convert non-reducible As forms into inorganic As, which easily forms arsine. The optimised parameters were the treatment time and the pH of the medium. The behaviour of four hydride-reactive As species [As(III), As(V), MMA, DMA], and AsB, i.e. a typical non-hydride-reactive As species, when subjected to UV irradiation was studied. UV irradiation at pH 1 lead to conversion of all species into As(V) with the exception of AsB and DMA. Conversions of DMA and AsB into As(V) at pH 11 in less than 30 min were observed under UV irradiation. The limit of detection of As (measured as As(V)) by hydride generation-atomic fluorescence spectrometry was 0.1 μg/L and the repeatability of the oxidation procedure was about 10%. The method was applied to determination of total and directly reducible As at 11 sampling points of the Galician Coast (Atlantic Ocean, Spain). Total As concentrations were in the range 1.4–4.8 μg/L. A significant As fraction, between 20 and 44%, depending on the sampling point, corresponded to non-reducible As which was converted by UV irradiation into hydride-reactive As. This fraction should represent the sum of DMA, which yields a low sensitivity in the continuous flow-AFS system, and the hidden As fraction.