Superfund Research Program
Trace Elements Analysis Core
The Trace Element Analysis Core continues to provide state-of-the-art analytical resources and expertise to Dartmouth Superfund researchers as its primary goal. Over the last year, the Core, in conjunction with program 7, hired Dr. Vivien Taylor as a visiting post-doctoral researcher. Dr. Taylor obtained her MSc from University of Newfoundland, and her Ph.D. from Trent University; both of these institutions have very strong analytical chemistry programs. Dr. Taylor has worked exclusively on the analytical methods in support of Project 7, Trophic Transfer of Toxic Metals in Aquatic Food Webs. In the past year, the Trace Element Analysis Core acquired additional peripheral instrumentation that allows them to perform off-line cold vapor generation of Hg, with trapping and concentration on a gold trap. Preliminary studies indicate that this method will be far superior for low level detection and decreased carry-over than the on-line methodology that was previously employed. Dr. Taylor has developed a method for the simultaneous determination of total concentrations of As, Se, Zn, Cd, Pb and Hg, and speciation of Hg. This method was developed for very small sample masses that had previously required two separate digestions/extractions for total analysis and speciation respectively. This prior requirement of two separate digestions meant that the sample mass had to be split, which increases detection limits for both measurements. The combined total/speciation analysis utilizes the whole sample mass, thus providing the best possible detection limits for all analytes. The method has been applied to a number of standard reference materials with good success, and a short Technical Report paper has been prepared for journal submission. The Core Director has pursued funding and collaborations in projects where the analytical goals are closely aligned with Dartmouth’s superfund programmatic aims. To this end, the Core is participating in a USDA funded project on arsenic and lead mobility from old orchard soils, and an EPA funded project on the toxicity of quantum dot nano-particles. The Core Director received funding from Dartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth College Department of Earth Sciences for the purchase of a laser ablation unit as a front-end to ICP-MS. The laser ablation unit performs direct solid sampling and will be immediately useful for analysis of hair and nail samples, which are used in bio-indicator studies. The Core was renovated during the summer of 2007. A vestibule was installed to provide an airlock between the corridor and the main Core laboratory space. This will decrease the particle count in the main laboratory area and should help in providing lower instrument detection limits. The Core Director visited the Norwegian Fisheries Institute (NIFES) as their guest to assist them in developing low level mercury analytical methodology.