An automated sequential injection (SI) system incorporating a dual-conical microcolumn is proposed as a versatile approach for the accommodation of both single and sequential extraction schemes for metal fractionation of solid samples of environmental concern. Coupled to flame atomic absorption spectrometric detection and used for the determination of Cu as a model analyte, the potentials of this novel hyphenated approach are demonstrated by the ability of handling up to 300 mg sample of a nonhomogeneous sewage amended soil (viz., CRM 483). The three steps of the endorsed Standards, Measurements, and Testing sequential extraction method have been also performed in a dynamic fashion and critically compared with the conventional batch-wise protocols. The ecotoxicological relevance of the data provided by both methods with different operationally defined conditions is thoroughly discussed. As compared to traditional batch systems, the developed SI assembly offers minimum risks of sample contamination, absence of metal re-distribution/re-adsorption, and dramatic saving of operational times (from 16 h to 40-80 min per partitioning step). It readily facilitates the accurate manipulation of the extracting reagents into the flow network and the minute, well-defined injection of the desired leachate volume into the detector. Moreover, a highly time-resolved information on the ongoing extraction is given, which is particular relevant for monitoring fast leaching kinetics, such as those involving strong chelating agents. On-line and off-line (for Cu, Pb and Zn) single extraction schemes are also proven to constitute attractive alternatives for fast screening of metal pollution in solid samples, and for predicting the current, rather than the potential, element bioavailability by the assessment of the readily mobilisable metal forms.
|Publication status||Published - 2005|