Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 8, pp 1659–1670 | Cite as

Critical evaluation of the use of total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry for the analysis of whole blood samples: application to patients with thyroid gland diseases

  • Eva MarguíEmail author
  • Jasna Jablan
  • Marko Gerić
  • Suzana Inić
  • Ana-Marija Domijan
  • Renato Janušić
  • Božena Šarčević
  • Ignasi Queralt
  • Verica Garaj-Vrhovac
Research Paper


Multielemental analysis of whole blood can provide significant information for the evaluation of nutritional status and diagnosis of certain diseases as well as for the assessment of exposure to potentially toxic metals. However, the quantification of multiple elements in whole blood is not easy partly because of the wide variation in element concentrations (from ng L−1 to g L−1) and the complex matrix. The aim of this work was to develop a fast, sustainable, and reliable analytical method, in combination with low-power TXRF, for multielemental analysis of blood samples. Firstly, a set of experiments were carried out to select the best diluent type and dilution factor using the control material SeronormTM Trace Elements Whole Blood L-1. A critical evaluation of the parameters affecting the sample deposition on the reflector was also carried out including a study of the shape and element distribution of the deposited residue on the reflector by micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Using the best analytical conditions, limits of detection estimated were in the low milligrams per kilogram range and similar to those obtained using more complex sample treatments such as digestion. Accuracy and precision of the results were in most cases acceptable (recoveries 89–102%, RSD 6–8%, n = 5). Only underestimated values were obtained for light elements such as potassium. To prove the applicability of the method, several blood samples from control and thyroid disease patients were analyzed. Despite the fact that more samples need to be analyzed, it seems that Zn and Br contents in some of the patients are significantly higher compared to control samples.

Graphical abstract


Whole blood Multielement analysis TXRF Thyroid 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

All volunteers signed a written consent to participate in the study and were introduced with the rights to abandon it at any time without further justifications. The blood sampling was done as a part of the study approved by the Institutional and Hospital Ethics committees and observed the ethical principles of the Declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva Marguí
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jasna Jablan
    • 2
  • Marko Gerić
    • 3
  • Suzana Inić
    • 2
  • Ana-Marija Domijan
    • 4
  • Renato Janušić
    • 5
  • Božena Šarčević
    • 5
  • Ignasi Queralt
    • 6
  • Verica Garaj-Vrhovac
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of GironaGironaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy and BiochemistryUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  3. 3.Institute for Medical Research and Occupational HealthZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy and BiochemistryUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  5. 5.Department of Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity Hospital for TumoursZagrebCroatia
  6. 6.Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSICBarcelonaSpain

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