Determination of antimony species with high-performance liquid chromatography using element specific detection
A new method for the fast and simultaneous determination of Sb(III) and Sb(V) is presented involving the use of anion exchange high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), a complexing reagent in the mobile phase, and element specific detection with flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) or inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Chromatographic parameters such as nature and concentration of the complexing and eluting compounds and pH of the mobile phase were investigated in detail. Additionally, the separation of inorganic Sb(III) and Sb(V) from organically bounded antimony (as (CH3)3SbCl2 and (CH3)3Sb(OH)2) was investigated by using anion, and cation exchange, and reversed phase HPLC. Best separation was obtained with anion exchange HPLC under alkaline conditions. Cation exchange and reversed-phase HPLC were not useful for the separation of the above compounds. With FAAS concentrations in the upper mg L–1 range are detectable, which is not sensitive enough for the analyses of environmental samples. When the chromatographic system was coupled to ICP-MS, the detection limits are in the lower μg L–1 range. The method was applied to various environmental samples with anthropogenic and naturally elevated Sb concentrations.
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