A novel digestion procedure based on sample combustion ignited by microwave radiation is proposed for organic samples. Certified samples of bovine liver, pig kidney, and skim milk were used as examples to demonstrate the performance of the proposed procedure. Cadmium and copper were determined in these samples by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. Samples (between 50 and 250 mg) were wrapped with paper and placed on a homemade quartz holder that was positioned inside to quartz vessels used in a commercial microwave oven. Ammonium nitrate solution was added to the paper, and vessels were pressurized with oxygen to 15 bar. The rotor containing four vessels was placed inside the oven, and microwave radiation was applied for 20 s at 1400 W. Combustion was complete in few seconds, and an additional reflux step, which was optional, was applied. The agreement to the certified values was between 96 and 105% for both analytes. Only with the combustion step, the residual carbon (RC) was below 1.3%. The RC decreased to less than 0.4% when an additional reflux step with concentrated nitric acid was applied.
Fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine have been studied in biological samples and other related matrices owing to the need to understand the biochemical effects in living organisms. In this review, the works published in last 20 years are covered, and the main topics related to sample preparation methods and analytical techniques commonly used for fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine determination in biological samples, food, drugs, and plants used as food or with medical applications are discussed. The commonest sample preparation methods, as extraction and decomposition using combustion and pyrohydrolysis, are reviewed, as well as spectrometric and electroanalytical techniques, spectrophotometry, total reflection X-ray fluorescence, neutron activation analysis, and separation systems using chromatography and electrophoresis. On this aspect, the main analytical challenges and drawbacks are highlighted. A discussion related to the availability of certified reference materials for evaluation of accuracy is also included, as well as a discussion of the official methods used as references for the determination of halogens in the samples covered in this review.
The microwave-induced combustion (MIC) technique was applied for coal digestion and further determination of bromide, chloride, fluoride, and iodide by ion chromatography (IC). Samples (up to 500 mg) were combusted at 2 MPa of oxygen. Combustion was complete in less than 50 s, and analytes were absorbed in water or (NH(4))(2)CO(3) solution. A reflux step was applied to improve analyte absorption. Accuracy was evaluated for Br, Cl, and F using certified reference coal and spiked samples for I. For Br, Cl, and F, the agreement was between 96 and 103% using 50 mmol L(-1) (NH(4))(2)CO(3) as the absorbing solution and 5 min of reflux. With the use of the same conditions, the recoveries for I were better than 97%. Br, Cl, and I were also determined in MIC digests by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry, and F was determined by an ion-selective electrode with agreement better than 95% to the values obtained using IC. Temperature during combustion was higher than 1350 degrees C, and the residual carbon content was lower than 1%. With the use of the MIC technique, up to eight samples could be processed simultaneously, and a single absorbing solution was suitable for all analytes and determination techniques (limit of detection by IC was better than 3 microg g(-1) for all halogens).
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