Molecules (Sep 2021)

Developing On-Site Trace Level Speciation of Lead, Cadmium and Zinc by Stripping Chronopotentiometry (SCP): Fast Screening and Quantification of Total Metal Concentrations

  • Laetitia Hackel,
  • Elise Rotureau,
  • Aoife Morrin,
  • José Paulo Pinheiro

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 26, no. 18
p. 5502


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Electrochemical stripping techniques are interesting candidates for carrying out onsite speciation of environmentally relevant trace metals due to the existing low-cost portable instrumentation available and the low detection limits that can be achieved. In this work, we describe the initial analytical technique method development by quantifying the total metal concentrations using Stripping Chronopotentiometry (SCP). Carbon paste screen-printed electrodes were modified with thin films of mercury and used to quantify sub-nanomolar concentrations of lead and cadmium and sub-micromolar concentrations of zinc in river water. Low detection limits of 0.06 nM for Pb(II) and 0.04 nM for Cd(II) were obtained by the standard addition method using a SCP deposition time of 180 s. The SCP results obtained for Pb(II) and Cd(II) agreed with those of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The coupling of SCP with screen-printed electrodes opens up excellent potential for the development of onsite speciation of trace metals. Due to the low analysis throughput obtained for the standard addition method, we also propose a new, more rapid screening Cd(II) internal standard methodology to significantly increase the number of samples that can be analyzed per day.