Speciation of eight arsenic compounds in human urine by high performance liquid chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric detection using antimonate for internal chromatographic standardization
Four anionic and four cationic arsenic compounds in urine were separated by anion- and cation-exchange high-performance liquid chromatography and detected by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) at m/z 75. The species were the anions arsenite, arsenate, monomethylarsonate and dimethylarsinate and the cations arsenobetaine, trimethylarsine oxide, arsenocholine and the tetramethylarsonium ion. Hexahydroxyantimonate(III) was co-chromatographed with the arsenic anions but detected at m/z 121 and used as an internal standard for their qualitative analysis. Arsenite was prone to oxidation to arsenate in urine but was stable after at least 4-fold dilution of the urine with water. Arsenite was unstable in both urine samples and standard mixtures when diluted with the basic (pH 10.3) mobile phase used for anion chromatography. This could not be prevented by adding ascorbic acid as antioxidant. The argon chloride interference at m/z 75 was eliminated by chromatographic separation of the chloride present in the sample from the arsenic analytes. The ClO+ ion detected at m/z 51 and 53 was used to monitor the retention time of chloride in the anion-exchange system. The chloride eluted about 100 s after the last analyte peak and the intensity of ArCl+ was negligible even after injection of a 1% NaCl solution (less than 200 ions s–1). The recovery of all arsenic species in urine was close to 100%. The chromatographic peaks were evaluated by their peak heights and calibration was carried out by the method of standard additions. The calibration graphs were linear for all species (r > 0.999). The limits of detection were 3–6 ng cm–3 for the cations and 7–10 ng cm–3 for the anions in urine.
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 1993, Vol 8, p. 557-563