THE ANALYSIS OF SAMPLES WITH COMPLEX MATRICES FOR ELEMENTAL CONCENTRATION
Exposing organisms to elements can lead to varied effects. In the foodstuff and pharmaceutical industry, elemental exposures are often present in the form of contamination and must be monitored for public safety due to the potential toxic effects they can have upon consumers. The following work shows a method to rapidly analyze foodstuffs and medications for elements of interest through the use of an electrothermal vaporization (ETV) introduction system paired with inductively coupled plasma (ICP) optical emission spectrometry (OES). This technique circumvents many of the traditional problems associated with measuring certain elements such as length and complexity of analysis along with the requirement that solid samples must be dissolved pre-analysis. This technique also allows for the direct analysis of solids, liquids and slurries, and enables the selective determination of these elements and their subsequent measurements in a variety of matrices. Another avenue where elemental concentration is a field of interest is in biological systems and food webs. Through exposure to varied anthropogenic sources, many animals are at risk of elemental contamination and the resulting toxicity. Marine species are particularly vulnerable to this phenomenon due to the propensity of accumulation of many elements in waterways and bodies of water. This research extracts the element of interest, As, from sea cucumbers (SC) through a sequential extraction in order to determine its concentration via ICPMS (mass spectrometry). A high-performance liquid chromatography system was also paired with ICPMS to allow for speciation of the various As species present within the SCs. In the field of medicine, elements are used as functional groups or centers in molecules based on their respective reactivity or propensity to accomplish particular effects on an organism. In chemotherapy, researchers have effectively used Pt containing compounds to treat cancerous growths. To monitor the absorption of Pt in human cells, this research utilizes ETV-ICPOES to directly analyze these cells without the need for acid digestion or cell pre-treatment. Through utilizing unconventional sample introduction techniques and sample pre-treatment, many problems that plague traditional measurement of these elements in varying matrices can be circumvented.