Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 390, Issue 4, pp 1149–1157 | Cite as

Bioaccessibility of selected trace metals in urban PM2.5 and PM10 samples: a model study

  • Thomas Falta
  • Andreas Limbeck
  • Gunda Koellensperger
  • Stephan HannEmail author
Original Paper


Bioaccessibility of trace metals originating from urban particulate matter was assessed in a worst case scenario to evaluate the uptake and thus the hazardous potential of these metals via gastric juice. Sampling was performed over a period of about two months at the Getreidemarkt in downtown Vienna. Concentrations of the assayed trace metals (Ti, Cr, Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mo, Ag, Cd, Sn, Sb, Tl and Pb) were determined in PM2.5 and PM10 samples by ICP-MS. The metal concentrations in sampled air were in the low picogram to high nanogram per cubic metre range. The concentrations in PM2.5 samples were generally lower than those in PM10 samples. The average daily intake of these metals by inhalation for a healthy adult was estimated to be in the range of <1 ng (Tl) to >1,000 ng (Zn). To estimate the accessibility of the inhaled and subsequently ingested metals (i.e. after lung clearance had taken place) in the size range from 2.5- to 10-μm aerodynamic equivalent diameter, a batch-extraction with synthetic gastric juice was performed. The data were used to calculate the bioaccessibility of the investigated trace metals. Extractable fractions ranged from 2.10% (Ti in PM2.5) to 91.0% (Cd in PM2.5), thus yielding bioaccessible fractions (PM2.5–10) from 0.16 ng (Ag) to 178 ng (Cu).


Bioaccessibility Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry Trace metals Urban particulate matter Synthetic gastric juice 



Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry


Inductively coupled plasma quadrupole mass spectrometry


Dynamic Reaction Cell™


Particulate matter


PM with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤10 μm


PM with an aerodynamic diameter of ≤2.5 μm


PM with an aerodynamic diameter between 2.5 and 10 μm


Gastrointestinal tract


Limit of detection


Limit of quantification



The authors would like to thank M. Handler (Vienna University of Technology) for his assistance with sample collection. Financial support by the “Hochschuljubiläumsfond der Stadt Wien” is highly acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Falta
    • 1
  • Andreas Limbeck
    • 2
  • Gunda Koellensperger
    • 1
  • Stephan Hann
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Analytical ChemistryUniversity of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences - ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Chemical Technologies and AnalyticsVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

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