Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 409, Issue 23, pp 5463–5480 | Cite as

A fully automated simultaneous single-stage separation of Sr, Pb, and Nd using DGA Resin for the isotopic analysis of marine sediments

  • A. Retzmann
  • T. Zimmermann
  • D. Pröfrock
  • T. Prohaska
  • J. Irrgeher
Research Paper


A novel, fast and reliable sample preparation procedure for the simultaneous separation of Sr, Pb, and Nd has been developed for subsequent isotope ratio analysis of sediment digests. The method applying a fully automated, low-pressure chromatographic system separates all three analytes in a single-stage extraction step using self-packed columns filled with DGA Resin. The fully automated set-up allows the unattended processing of three isotopic systems from one sediment digest every 2 h, offering high sample throughput of up to 12 samples per day and reducing substantially laboratory manpower as compared to conventional manual methods. The developed separation method was validated using the marine sediment GBW-07313 as matrix-matched certified reference material and combines quantitative recoveries (>90% for Sr, >93% for Pb, and >91% for Nd) with low procedural blank levels following the sample separation (0.07 μg L−1 Sr, 0.03 μg L−1 Pb, and 0.57 μg L−1 Nd). The average δ values for Sr, Pb, and Nd of the separated reference standards were within the certified ranges (δ (87Sr/86Sr)NIST SRM 987 of −0.05(28) ‰, δ(208Pb/206Pb)NIST SRM 981 of −0.21(14) ‰, and δ(143Nd/144Nd)JNdi-1 of 0.00(7) ‰). The DGA Resin proved to be reusable for the separation of >10 sediment digests with no significant carry-over or memory effects, as well as no significant on-column fractionation of Sr, Pb, and Nd isotope ratios. Additional spike experiments of NIST SRM 987 with Pb, NIST SRM 981 with Sr, and JNdi-1 with Ce revealed no significant impact on the measured isotopic ratios, caused by potential small analyte peak overlaps during the separation of Sr and Pb, as well as Ce and Nd.


Isotopic analysis Automated sample matrix separation Sr Pb Nd DGA Resin MC ICP-MS 



The authors would like to acknowledge Paul Field together with Patrick Klemens from Elemental Scientific as well as Stephen Romaniello from the Arizona State University for their input related to the prepFAST-MC™ system and Steffen Happel (Triskem) for providing a first version of a self-packed column. We would like to thank the Geological Survey of Japan (Hikari Kamioka) for providing us with an aliquot of JNdi-1 (neodymium oxide) standard as well as Anna Reese (Helmholtz-Centre Geesthacht) and Tine Opper (VIRIS laboratory) for their support in the lab.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2017_468_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (18 kb)
ESM 1(PDF 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Retzmann
    • 1
  • T. Zimmermann
    • 2
    • 3
  • D. Pröfrock
    • 2
  • T. Prohaska
    • 1
  • J. Irrgeher
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, Division of Analytical Chemistry, VIRIS LaboratoryUniversity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences ViennaTullnAustria
  2. 2.Institute of Coastal Research, Marine Bioanalytical ChemistryHelmholtz-Centre GeesthachtGeesthachtGermany
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, Inorganic and Applied ChemistryUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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