Development and validation of a single run method based on species specific isotope dilution and HPLC-ICP-MS for simultaneous species interconversion correction and speciation analysis of Cr(III)/Cr(VI) in meat and dairy products

Marina Amaral Saraiva, Rachida Chekri, Axelle Leufroy, Thierry Guérin, Jens Jørgen Sloth, Petru Jitaru*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study presents the development, validation and application of a new analytical approach for the simultaneous speciation analysis of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) in meat and dairy products by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and double spike species specific-isotope dilution (SS-ID). The species extraction was achieved by sequential complexation of Cr(III) with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and of Cr(VI) with 1,5-diphenylcarbazide (DPC) in the same analytical run. The HPLC separation of complexed species was carried out using a short (5 cm) microbore anion-exchange HPLC column and a mobile phase consisting of 0.01 mol L−1 HNO3 + 2.5% (v/v) MeOH + 0.30 mol L−1 EDTA (pH = 2) in isocratic elution mode with excellent baseline separation achieved in less than 3 min. The method was validated by means of the accuracy profile approach by carrying out 6 measurement series in duplicate on (six) different days over a timespan of two months. The quantification limit was 0.013 μg kg−1 for Cr(III) and 0.049 μg kg−1 for Cr(VI), respectively. The measurement bias corresponding to the validity domain ranged from 0.01 to 0.11%, whereas the coefficient of variation in terms of repeatability (CVr) varied from 2.9 to 11.6% (depending on the analyte level) for Cr(III) and from 6.7 to 11.8% for Cr(VI). Similarly, the coefficient of variation in terms of intermediate reproducibility (CVR) ranged from 6.8 to 13% for Cr(III) and from 6.8 to 25.9% for Cr(VI), respectively. The method was successfully applied to the analysis of a selection of food samples such as baby and semi-skimmed milk and steak beef samples. Cr(VI) was not quantified in any of these samples while Cr(III) levels ranged between 2.7 and 4.7 μg kg−1, which were comparable with the levels of total chromium analysed in the same samples by ICP-MS (accredited method). The method presented here with combined use of species specific isotope dilution and sequential species complexation is a powerful analytical tool for accurate and precise quantification of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) at trace levels and allows for correction of any species interconversion during sample preparation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121538
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chromium speciation
  • Foodstuffs
  • Species specific-isotope dilution

Cite this