Marine Science Faculty Publications

Determination of Nanomolar Chromate in Drinking Water with Solid Phase Extraction and a Portable Spectrophotometer

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Solid phase extraction, Nanomolar detection limit, Chromate, Carbon 18 cartridge, Light-emitting diode

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Determination of chromate at low concentration levels in drinking water is an important analytical objective for both human health and environmental science. Here we report the use of solid phase extraction (SPE) in combination with a custom-made portable light-emitting diode (LED) spectrophotometer to achieve detection of chromate in the field at nanomolar levels. The measurement chemistry is based on a highly selective reaction between 1,5-diphenylcarbazide (DPC) and chromate under acidic conditions. The Cr–DPC complex formed in the reaction can be extracted on a commercial C18 SPE cartridge. Concentrated Cr–DPC is subsequently eluted with methanol and detected by spectrophotometry. Optimization of analytical conditions involved investigation of reagent compositions and concentrations, eluent type, flow rate (sample loading), sample volume, and stability of the SPE cartridge. Under optimized conditions, detection limits are on the order of 3 nM. Only 50 mL of sample is required for an analysis, and total analysis time is around 10 min. The targeted analytical range of 0–500 nM can be easily extended by changing the sample volume. Compared to previous SPE-based spectrophotometric methods, this analytical procedure offers the benefits of improved sensitivity, reduced sample consumption, shorter analysis time, greater operational convenience, and lower cost.

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Journal of Hazardous Materials, v. 219-220, p. 247-252