Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1557–1568

Extraction and speciation analysis of roxarsone and its metabolites from soils with different physicochemical properties

  • Qing-Long Fu
  • Jian-Zhou He
  • Hua Gong
  • Lee Blaney
  • Dong-Mei Zhou
Soils, Sec 5 • Soil and Landscape Ecology • Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11368-015-1344-7

Cite this article as:
Fu, QL., He, JZ., Gong, H. et al. J Soils Sediments (2016) 16: 1557. doi:10.1007/s11368-015-1344-7



The application of roxarsone (ROX), an arsenic-containing compound, as a feed additive in the animal production industry results in elevated soil levels of ROX and its metabolites, namely, monomethylarsonic acid (MMA), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA), arsenate (As(V)), and arsenite (As(III)). This study was conducted to study the extraction and speciation analysis of ROX-related arsenicals in soils with different physicochemical properties and the possible effects of soil properties on the extraction of ROX and its metabolites.

Materials and methods

Analytical method based on high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was employed to determine the concentrations of As(III), DMA, MMA, As(V), and ROX extracted by different extraction solvents from different soils spiked by arsenicals. Validity of the developed method was assessed by the recovery efficiencies of arsenic species in soil-dissolved matter solutions containing 20 μg As · L−1 of each arsenic species. Effects of soil properties on the extraction of ROX and its metabolites were analyzed by Pearson’s correlation.

Results and discussion

Arsenic species were separated using gradient elution of water and 20 mmol · L−1 (NH4)2HPO4 + 20 mmol · L−1 NH4NO3 + 5 % methanol (v/v) within 27 min. The linear ranges of all arsenicals were 0–200 μg As · L−1 with R2 > 0.9996. The developed method provided lower limits of detection for As(III), DMA, MMA, As(V), and ROX (0.80, 0.58, 0.35, 0.24, and 1.52 μg As · L−1, respectively) and excellent recoveries (92.52–102.2 %) for all five species. Arsenic speciation was not altered by 0.1 mol · L−1 NaH2PO4 + 0.1 mol · L−1 H3PO4 (9:1, v/v), which offered better average extraction efficiencies for As(III), As(V), DMA, MMA, and ROX (32.49, 92.50, 78.24, 77.64, and 84.54 %, respectively). Extraction performance of arsenicals was influenced by soil properties, including pH, cation exchange capacity (CEC), total Fe, and amorphous Fe.


ROX and its metabolites from soils could be satisfactorily separated by the developed method for the studied arsenicals. To extract arsenic species from soils, 0.1 mol · L−1 NaH2PO4 + 0.1 mol · L−1 H3PO4 (9:1, v/v) was recommended. Extraction efficiencies of arsenicals were influenced more by solvent composition than soil physicochemical properties. The present study provides a valuable tool and useful information for determining the concentrations of ROX and its metabolites in contaminated soils.


Arsenic speciation Extraction HPLC-ICP-MS Organoarsenicals Roxarsone Soil properties 

Supplementary material

11368_2015_1344_MOESM1_ESM.doc (457 kb)
ESM 1(DOC 457 kb)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Natural Science Foundation of China
  • 41430752
  • 41125007

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qing-Long Fu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jian-Zhou He
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hua Gong
    • 3
  • Lee Blaney
    • 4
  • Dong-Mei Zhou
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Soil Environment and Pollution Remediation, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Soil and Environment Analysis Center, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  4. 4.Department of Chemical, Biochemical, and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA

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