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Water as a mild extractant of metals and metalloids from the samples of the selected certified reference materials and subsequent multi-elemental quantification by ICP-AES


An assessment of mobility and bioavailability of trace elements present in the soil requires the determination of these elements in soil samples by an appropriate methodology. In such a context, the use of mild extraction reagents—such as water—is considered to be appropriate. On the other hand, performing an analysis of a reference material together with real samples is recommended in order to control the quality of analytical procedure. The quantification of 27 analytes in aqueous extracts of the soil CRMs samples is described. The methodology consisted of single-step extraction of analytes by deionized water (m/v = 1/10) with their subsequent direct determination by inductively coupled plasma–atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Three certified reference materials (CRM) for soils have been selected as model samples: NCS DC 77302 (alias GBW 07410), Metranal-31, and Metranal-33. Although the recoveries of the selected elements obtained by water extractions are very low (i.e., the values usually do not exceed 1%), the results obtained in this study reveal the elements that by means of ICP-OES can be quantified in the water extracts of unpolluted soils are as follows: Al, Ba, Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, P, S, Sr, Ti, and V. However, ICP-OES is not sensitive enough to quantify the elements As, Be, Cd, Co, Pb, Sb, Se, Tl, and Zn that are present in the water extracts of clean soil samples in too low mass fractions. The results obtained in this paper are useful for future uses of the three tested CRMs, in the cases of the extraction of the analytes by deionized water at room temperature.

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Correspondence to Vibor Roje.

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Filip Galinec is an undergraduate student.

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Roje, V., Galinec, F. Water as a mild extractant of metals and metalloids from the samples of the selected certified reference materials and subsequent multi-elemental quantification by ICP-AES. Environ Monit Assess 191, 534 (2019).

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  • Certified reference materials
  • Heavy metals
  • Trace elements
  • Soil
  • Water extraction