Microchimica Acta

, Volume 179, Issue 1–2, pp 99–104 | Cite as

Solar UV-assisted sample preparation of river water for ultra-trace determination of uranium by adsorptive stripping voltammetry

  • Gelaneh Woldemichael
  • Taffa Tulu
  • Gerd-Uwe FlechsigEmail author
Original Paper


The article describes how solar ultraviolet-A radiation can be used to digest samples as needed for voltammetric ultratrace determination of uranium(VI) in river water. We applied adsorptive stripping voltammetry (AdSV) using chloranilic acid as the complexing agent. Samples from the river Warnow in Rostock (Germany) were pretreated with either soft solar UV or wit artificial hard UV from a 30-W source emitting 254-nm light. Samples were irradiated for 12 h, and both methods yielded the same results. We were able to detect around 1 μg·L−1 of uranium(VI) in a sample of river water that also contained dissolved organic carbon at a higher mg·L−1 levels. No AdSV signal was obtained for U(VI) without any UV pre-treatment. Pseudo-polarographic experiments confirmed the dramatic effect of both digestion techniques the the AdSV response. The new method is recommended for use in mobile ultratrace voltammetry of heavy metals for most kinds of natural water samples including tap, spring, ground, sea, and river waters. The direct use of solar radiation for sample pre-treatment represents a sustainable technique for sample preparation that does not consume large quantities of chemicals or energy.


Adsorptive stripping voltammetry response of uranium(VI) in a) Original Sample b) 6 h Solar UV Sample, c) 12 h Solar UV Sample, and d) 6 h UV Sample with standard additions of 2, 4 and 6 μg⋅L-1. Potentials are given vs. Ag/AgCl (3 M KCl).


Uranium River water Adsorptive stripping voltammetry (AdSV) Chloranilic acid UV digestion Pseudopolarography 



The authors are grateful to the German Research Foundation (DFG, FL 384/7-1, Heisenberg Fellowship) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for financial support.


  1. 1.
    Busby C, Schnug E (2008) Advanced biochemical and biophysical aspects of uranium contamination. In De Kok LJ, Schnug E (eds) Loads and fate of fertilizer derived uranium. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands, ISBN/EAN 978-90-5782-193-6Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Zobel CR, Beer M (1961) Chemical studies on the interaction of DNA with Uranyl Salts. J Biophys Biochem Cytol 10:336–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Constantinescu DG, Hatieganu E (1974) Metachromasia through uranyl ions: a procedure for identifying the nucleic acids and the nucleotides. Anal Biochem 62:584–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Domingo JL (1995) Chemical toxicity of uranium. Toxicol Ecotoxicol News 2:74–78Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zaire R, Notter M, Thiel E (1997) Unexpected rates of chromosome instabilities and alteration of hormone levels in Namibian uranium miners. Radiat Res 147:579–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Schroeder H, Heimers A, Frentzel Beyme R, Schott A, Hoffmann W (2003) Chromosome aberration analysis in peripheral lymphocytes of Gulf War and Balkans War veterans. Radiat Protect Dosim 103:211–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lin RH, Wu LJ, Lee CH, Lin-Shiau SY (1993) Cytogenetic toxicity of uranyl nitrate in Chinese hamster ovary cells. Mutat Res 319:197–203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Tasat DR, deRey BM (1987) Cytotoxic effect of uranium dioxide on rat alveolar macrophages. Environ Res 44:71–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Yazzie M, Gamble SL, Civitello ER, Stearns DM (2003) Uranyl acetate causes DNA single strand breaks in vitro in the presence of ascorbate (vitamin C). Chem Res Toxicol 16:524–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Miller AC, Stewart M, Brooks K, Shi L, Page N (2002) Depleted uranium-catalyzed oxidative DNA damage: absence of significant alpha particle decay. J Inorg Biochem 91:246–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sander S, Henze G (1994) Adsorption voltammetric techniques for the determination of uranium(VI) with 2,5-dichloro-3,6-dihydroxy-l,4-benzoquinone as complex forming reagent. Fres J Anal Chem 349:654–658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sander S, Wagner W, Henze G (1995) Direct determination of uranium traces by adsorptive stripping voltammetry. Anal Chim Acta 305:154–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Wang J, Zadeii JM (1986) Trace determination of yttrium and some trace earths by adsorptive stripping voltammetry. Talanta 33:321–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lam NK, Kalvoda R, Kopanica M (1983) Determination of uranium by adsorptive stripping voltammetry. Anal Chim Acta 154:79–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Van den Berg CMG, Huang ZQ (1984) Determination of Uranium(VI) in sea water by cathodic stripping voltammetry of complexes with Catechol. Anal Chim Acta 164:209–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wang J, Setiadji R, Chen L, Lu J (1992) Automated system for on-line adsorptive stripping voltammetric monitoring of trace levels of uranium. Electroanalysis 4:161–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wang J, Zadeii JM (1987) Adsorptive stripping voltammetric measurements of trace levels of uranium following chelation with mordant blue 9. Talanta 34:247–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wang J, Setiadji R (1992) Selective determination of trace uranium by stripping voltammetry following adsorptive accumulation of cupferron complex. Anal Chim Acta 264:205–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Van den Berg CMG, Nimmo M (1987) Direct determination of uranium in water by cathodic stripping voltammetry. Anal Chem 59:924–928CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Elwerfalli J, Page J, van Loon G (1987) The voltammetric determination of trace U(VI) in seawater -adsorptive preconcentration of the 2-(5-bromo-2-pyridy1azo)-5-diethylaminophenol complex. Can J Chem 65:1139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bastos MBR, Moreira JC, Farias PAM (2000) Adsorptive stripping voltammetric behaviour of UO2(II) complexed with the Schiff base N, N0- ethylenebis(salicylidenimine) in aqueous 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazine ethanesulfonic acid medium. Anal Chim Acta 408:83–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Golimowski J, Golimowska K (1996) UV-photooxidation as pretreatment step in inorganic analysis of environmental samples. Anal Chim Acta 325:111–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Armstrong FAJ, Williams PM, Strickland JDH (1966) Photo-oxidation of organic matter in sea water by ultra-violet radiation, analytical and other applications. Nature 211:481–483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Achterberg EP, Van den Berg CMG (1994) In-line ultraviolet-digestion of natural water samples for trace metal determination using an automated voltammetric system. Anal Chim Acta 291:213–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sipos L, Golimowski J, Valenta P, Nurnberg HW (1979) New voltammetric procedure for the simultaneous determination of copper and mercury in environmental samples. Fres Z Anal Chem 298:1–8Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Golimowski J (1989) Trace analysis of iron in environmental water and snow samples from Poland. Anal Lett 22:481–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Woldemichael G, Tulu T, Flechsig GU (2011) Solar UV photooxidation as pretreatment for stripping voltammetric trace metal analysis in river water. Int J Electrochem 2011: article ID 481370, 7 pagesGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Woldemichael G, Tulu T, Flechsig GU (2012) Application of solar UV radiation for pre-treatment of river water samples in the determination of nickel and cobalt ultratraces by adsorptive stripping voltammetry. Submitted to Int J Environm Anal ChemGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sander S (1999) Simultaneous adsorptive stripping voltammetric determination of molybdenum(VI), uranium(VI), vanadium(V), and antimony(III). Anal Chim Acta 394:81–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Singhal RK, Joshi VM, Preetha J, Karpe R, Kumar A, Hegde AG (2007) Determination of ultra trace level of uranium in ground water of different geo-chemical environment by adsorptive stripping voltammetry. Water Air Soil Pollut 184:17–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Metrohm Application Bulletin No. 266/1,

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gelaneh Woldemichael
    • 1
    • 2
  • Taffa Tulu
    • 1
  • Gerd-Uwe Flechsig
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Adama Science and Technology UniversityAdamaEthiopia
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of RostockRostockGermany
  3. 3.Gensoric GmbHRostockGermany

Personalised recommendations