A low-cost non-instrumental method for arsenic speciation

Pena-Pereira, Francisco; Villar-Blanco, Lorena; Lavilla, Isela; Bendicho, Carlos. Test for arsenic speciation in waters based on a paper-based analytical device with scanometric detection. Analytica Chimica Acta 29 June 2018 1011:1-10 DOI: 10.1016/j.aca.2018.01.007

A rapid, simple and affordable method for arsenic speciation analysis is described in this work. The proposed methodology involves in situ arsine generation, transfer of the volatile to the headspace and its reaction with silver nitrate at the detection zone of a paper-based analytical device (PAD). Thus, silver nitrate acts as a recognition element for arsine in the paper-based sensor. The chemical reaction between the recognition element and the analyte derivative results in the formation of a colored product which can be detected by scanning the detection zone and data treatment with an image processing and analysis program. Detection and injection zones were defined in the paper substrate by formation of hydrophobic barriers, thus enabling the formation of the volatile derivative without affecting the chemical stability of the recognition element present in the PAD. Experimental parameters influencing the analytical performance of the methodology, namely color mode detection, composition of the paper-based sensor and hydride generation and mass transfer conditions, were evaluated. Under optimal conditions, the proposed method showed limits of detection and quantification of 1.1 and 3.6 ng mL−1, respectively. Remarkably, the limit of detection of the method reported herein was much lower than the maximum contaminant levels set by both the World Health Organization and the US Environmental Protection Agency for arsenic in drinking water, unlike several commercially available arsenic test kits. The repeatability, expressed as relative standard deviation, was found to be 7.1% (n = 8). The method was validated against the European Reference Material ERM®-CA615 groundwater and successfully applied to the determination of As(III), As(V) and total inorganic As in different water samples. Furthermore, the method can be used for the screening analysis of total arsenic in waters when a cut-off level of 7 ng mL−1 is used.

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