Study of a microwave digestion method for total arsenic determination in marine mussels by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry: application to samples from the Ria de Arousa


Arsenic determination in mussel tissue was performed by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS) with Zeeman background correction and using iridium as a chemical modifier. Samples were digested by microwave heating using a mixture of nitric and sulphuric acids. This mixture makes possible the destruction of organoarsenic compounds, specifically arsenobetaine, prior to the graphite furnace determination. Optimum pyrolysis and atomization temperatures were 1,100 and 1,800 °C, respectively. The method was precise (with RSD% < 10), accurate (study of a certified reference material: 18.4 ± 1.4 μg As g−1 vs. a certified content: 18.0 ± 1.1 μg As g−1; recoveries between 90 and 104%) and sensitive (LOD 0.21 μg g−1 on a dry weight basis). The method was applied to the determination of arsenic in aquaculture mussels collected in four sampling campaigns from the productive Ría de Arousa (estuary sited in Galicia, NW of Spain).

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This work was part of a project sponsored by the Spanish Government through the Ministry of Science and Education, ref.: REN2002-01941. E. M. Peña Vázquez acknowledges the financial support by the Galician Government (Xunta de Galicia) in the framework of the Isidro Parga Pondal program.

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Correspondence to Pilar Bermejo-Barrera.

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Curros-Gontad, B., Barciela-Alonso, M.C., Buján-Villar, M.D. et al. Study of a microwave digestion method for total arsenic determination in marine mussels by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry: application to samples from the Ria de Arousa. Eur Food Res Technol 227, 1165–1172 (2008).

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  • Arsenic
  • Mussel samples
  • Microwave assisted digestion
  • Electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry
  • Ría de Arousa