Speciation Analysis by IC-ICP-MS

Trace elemental species separation and detection

IC-ICP-MS is an ideal method for identifying different versions of a molecule, which can be important in determining a sample’s safety or toxicity.

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What is speciation analysis?

Speciation is the process of separating and quantifying different molecular versions of a compound, which can exhibit very different physiochemical properties, including varying toxicities.

Why is speciation important?

Speciation analysis has become important for food, environmental, and pharmaceutical industries, where simply measuring the total amount of an element is insufficient. Identifying the different species and concentrations of those species provides a more informed understanding of the environmental or health related impact associated with a particular sample. The clinical or environmental approach would be very different depending on the concentration of the toxic species. For example, an exposure to toxic inorganic arsenic (arsenite and arsenate) is a much bigger concern than an exposure to the mildly toxic organic arsenic species. In contrast, organic mercury species are more toxic than inorganic mercury species, so an exposure to methylmercury or ethylmercury poses a more severe health risk.

How is speciation analysis performed?

IC-ICP-MS provides a complete inorganic elemental analysis solution for speciation analysis.

  • Metal-free ion chromatography (IC) separates the individual ionic species without contributing trace metal contamination
  • Ion Chromatography-Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (IC-ICP-MS) performs trace elemental detection and quantification

Metal-free IC (with high resolution ion exchange columns and simple online connectivity) together with high sensitivity ICP-MS and integrated software are a powerful combination for fast and efficient metal speciation.

What example analytes require speciation analysis?

  • Complete inorganic analysis
  • Arsenic
  • Chromium
  • Iodide
  • Mercury

What systems are available for speciation analysis?

Any of the Thermo Scientific Dionex IC systems can be used in conjunction with the iCAP RQplus ICP-MS system.

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