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Sample Preparation for Elemental Analysis of Biological Samples in the Environment

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Kunnath S. Subramanian

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0861

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Subramanian, K. S. 2006. Sample Preparation for Elemental Analysis of Biological Samples in the Environment. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Health Canada, Ottawa, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


This article focuses on biological sample preparation methods which are unique to each of the commonly used instrumental techniques used in trace element analysis. The biological samples covered are mainly of human and animal origin. The preparation methods considered span the entire gamut and include direct solid or liquid sample introduction involving dilution or matrix modification; dry ashing; wet oxidation including microwave digestion and high-pressure ashing; deproteinization; and tissue solubilization. The instrumental techniques covered are flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS), graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS), inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICPAES), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, neutron activation analysis (NAA) and anodic stripping voltammetry (ASV). The choice of a given sample preparation method would be governed in general by the type of biological matrix, sample size and the type of instrumental technique used. The advantages and disadvantages of the various sample preparation methods have been emphasized for each of the instrumental techniques. Also, an attempt has been made to point out the optimum sample preparation method(s) suitable for the particular biological matrix and instrumental technique.