National Water Quality Laboratory

Monday October 22, 2018

USGS Open-File Report 96-362

Methods of Analysis by the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory — Preparation Procedure for Aquatic Biological Material Determined for Trace Metals

Gerald L. Hoffman


A method for the chemical preparation of tissue samples that are subsequently analyzed for 22 selected trace metals is described. The tissue-preparation procedure was tested with three National Institute of Standards and Technology biological standard reference materials and two National Water Quality Laboratory homogenized biological materials. A low-temperature (85 degrees Celsius) nitric acid digestion followed by the careful addition of hydrogen peroxide (30-percent solution) is used to decompose the biological material. The solutions are evaporated to incipient dryness, reconstituted with 5 percent nitric acid, and filtered. After filtration the solutions were diluted to a known volume and analyzed by inductively couple plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) , inductive3ly coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), and cold vapor-atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Many of the metals were determined by both ICP-MS and ICP-AES. This report does not provide a detailed description of the instrumental procedures and conditions used with the three types of instrumentation for the quantitation of trace metals determined in this study. Statistical data regarding recovery, accuracy, and precision for individual trace metals determined in the biological material tested are presented.

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