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Determination of mercury species using thermal desorption analysis in AAS

Pavel Coufalík, Ondřej Zvěřina, and Josef Komárek

Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, Brno, 611 37, Czech Republic



Abstract: Analytical aspects of the determination of inorganic mercury (Hg) species by thermal desorption followed by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) detection were investigated in this work. Characteristic Hg release curves of the following species were observed: Hg0, HgCl2, HgO, HgSO4, HgS, and the Hg bound to humic acids. Particular attention was dedicated to the thermal stability and change of bond of Hg0 in the following matrices: sand, kaolinite, granite, peat, power plant ash, and soil. The bond of elemental Hg in environmental materials was described on basis of this experiment. Contaminated soil samples from two locations in the Czech Republic were investigated by thermal desorption analysis. Afterwards, the contents of volatile and plant-available Hg in the studied samples were determined. The determination of Hg0 using the thermal method was related to the results of liquid sequential extraction. The development of Hg speciation and the stability of Hg were assessed on basis of the data obtained. Thus, the analytical procedure used is a suitable tool for the study of inorganic Hg species in contaminated soils.

Keywords: mercury – speciation – soil – thermal desorption – extraction

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-013-0471-0


Chemical Papers 68 (4) 427–434 (2014)

Thursday, June 13, 2024

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