, Volume 263, Issue 3, pp 773-778

Comparison of NAA and ICP-MS for the determination of major and trace elements in environmental sample

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Major and trace elements in soil and plant samples, including standard reference materials were determined by means of neutron activation analysis (NAA) and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The analytical procedure for NAA utilized dried powder samples. The concentration of iodine in soil samples was determined by radiochemical NAA. The irradiated samples were cooled and then counted with a Ge gamma-ray detector connected to a multi-channel analyzer. For ICP-MS analysis, the samples were decomposed by microwave digestion with an acid mixture. The concentration of I in the soil samples was measured by ICP-MS after separation by ignition. The analytical values for most elements in the environmental samples by both methods were in good agreement, whereas sample treatments were different. Measured value of Zr in the soil samples by ICP-MS was about 50% lower than that by NAA. It should be assumed that some minerals of Zr in soil particles were not entirely dissolved by the acid mixture. Analytical results of Cd for three different Cd levels in unpolished rice flour samples (NIES 10-a, b and c) determined by ICP-MS were in agreement with certified values. The concentration of Cd in the sample with the lowest Cd level, as determined by NAA with 57% counting error, was 3 times higher than the certified value.