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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: Dartmouth College: Trace Elements Analysis Core

Superfund Research Program

Trace Elements Analysis Core

Project Leader: Brian P. Jackson
Co-Investigator: Tracy Punshon
Grant Number: P42ES007373
Funding Period: 2008-2020
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Progress Reports

Year:   2019  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004 

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 new Element 2 (E2) high resolution ICP-MS, purchased in 2005 with matching contributions from the Dartmouth SBRP program, Dartmouth College, and the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, has been successfully brought on line and is now an integral analytical tool for the Superfund research projects.  The Core has worked closely with all the Dartmouth Superfund projects over the past year, providing low level arsenic detection for the Arsenic and ABC Transporters project, total arsenic and arsenic speciation for the Arsenic as an Endocrine Disruptor and the Arsenic Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Exposure Assessment projects, and total mercury and mercury speciation for the Trophic Transfer of Toxic Metals in Aquatic Food Webs project.  The E2 provides unmatched detection limits for trace elements and a method has been developed for total mercury analysis by coupling cold vapor generation to ICP-MS to provide detection limits in the low part per quadrillion range.  The gas chromatography-ICP-MS methodology, previously performed on the Core's quadrupole ICP-MS, has now been transitioned to the E2 high resolution instrument.  All low level mercury speciation is now conducted by purge and trap followed by GC-ICP-MS on the E2.  The pre-concentration of mercury through purge and trap combined with the unmatched sensitivity of the E2 has allowed Dr. Jackson's team to achieve absolute detection limits in the femtogram range (10-15 g) for both inorganic and natural mercury.  Considerable effort has focused on the purge and trap methodology in an effort to minimize contamination.  The collision cell quadrupole ICP-MS continues to be the researchers' instrument of choice for low level arsenic work.  In the past year the researchers have developed arsenic speciation methodology primarily in support of the Arsenic Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Exposure Assessment project, for the determination of arsenic species in urine samples.  Previous research has shown that, contrary to the previously accepted dogma, the trivalent monomethyl arsenic compound has a greater toxicity than the inorganic arsenic forms.  Trace Element Core researchers developed a simple ion chromatographic separation for seven different forms of arsenic, including the trivalent monomethyl species, with detection by ICP-MS.  Core researchers are currently analyzing As species in urine samples in conjunction with the Arsenic Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Exposure Assessment project and the Arizona Superfund project.  The methods developed by the Trace Elements Core for Superfund research have attracted attention from researchers worldwide.  Brian Jackson, the Trace Element Core Director, was an invited speaker at a CDC-organized session on Atomic Spectroscopy in the clinical laboratory at this year's Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS) meeting.  As a result of Core researchers' mercury speciation work in support of the Trophic Transfer of Toxic Metals in Aquatic Food Webs project, they now receive many requests from researchers for mercury speciation analysis.  The laboratory is currently analyzing samples from Lake Champlain for a mercury deposition and cycling study and has embarked on collaboration with The Norwegian Institute of Fisheries (NIFES) initially involving mercury speciation in fish samples but also to provide technical expertise as NIFES develops methodology to perform these analyses in house.

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