Papers from the laboratory
  • Date: 20 Apr 2017


Earthworms are often used as sentinel organisms to study As bioavailability in polluted soils. Arsenic in earthworms is mainly sequestrated in the coelomic fluids whose As content can therefore be used to asses As bioavalability. In this work, a method for determining As concentration in coelomic fluid extracts using total-reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (TXRF) is presented. For this purpose coelomic fluid extracts from earthworms living in three polluted soils and one non-polluted (control) soil have been collected and analysed. A very simple sample preparation was implemented, consisting of a dilution of the extracts with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) using a 1:8 ratio and dropwise deposition of the sample on the reflector. A detection limit of 0.2 μg/l and quantification limit of 0.6 μg/l was obtained in the diluted samples, corresponding to 2 μg/l and 6 μg/l in the coelomic fluid extracts, respectively. This allowed to quantify As concentration in coelomic fluids extracted from earthworms living in soils polluted with As at concentrations higher than 20 mg/kg (considered as a pollution threshold for agricultural soils). The TXRF method has been validated by comparison with As concentrations in standards and by analysing the same samples by ICP-MS, after acid digestion of the sample. The low limit of detection, the proven reliability of the method and the little sample preparation make TXRF a suitable, cost-efficient and “green” technique for the analysis of As in earthworm coelomic fluid extracts for bioavailability studies.

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