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    Comparative Study of Preparative and Analytical Techniques for the Determination of Selenium in Water, Sediment, and Vegetation Matrices

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    In an effort to evaluate the currently available methodologies for the determination of selenium (Se) (a potentially toxic and difficult-to-measure element) in various sample matrices, different approaches to sample preparation and analysis were considered. Modification of existing methods was applied when needed and modified methodologies were assessed.

    Nitric acid digestion, with and without hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hydrochloric acid (HCl), was considered. Total selenium in various digestates was determined by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), heated graphite atomizer-atomic absorption (HGA-AA), and hydride generation-atomic absorption (HG-AA) spectrometry.

    The data generated by this work showed that there is a reasonable agreement between the Se results obtained by ICP-AES and HGA-AA in the sediment and vegetation samples. The HGA-AA technique, however, is preferred for the determination of low levels of Se in water (sub ppm) due to its higher sensitivity relative to that of ICP-AES.

    Several problems were encountered with the hydride generation technique (HG-AA), and its use required difficult manipulations and extreme care. Generally, Se recoveries of 77 to 108% were attained at levels of 2 and 30 ppm total Se.

    This paper describes the various methods of sample preparation considered and the operating parameters of the different instrumental techniques used. A comparative discussion of these methods and techniques is also reported along with conclusions pertinent to the use of each.


    selenium, heated graphite atomizer-atomic absorption spectroscopy, hydride generation-atomic absorption spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy, water, vegetation and sediment

    Author Information:

    Iskander, MS
    California Public Health Foundation, Berkeley, CA

    Yacoub, NL
    California Public Health Foundation, Berkeley, CA

    Holden, AM
    California Public Health Foundation, Berkeley, CA

    Smith, CB
    California Public Health Foundation, Berkeley, CA

    Stephens, RD
    California Public Health Foundation, Berkeley, CA

    Committee/Subcommittee: D34.01

    DOI: 10.1520/STP26435S