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Types of Chemical Species


In the literature the following types of elemental species are often distinguished:

Type: Oxidation species
Examples: Fe(II)/Fe(III); As(III)/As(V); Sb(III)/Sb(V); Se(IV)/Se(VI); Cr(III)/Cr(VI)
Interest: Study of redox processes; Different toxicity

Type: Complexes
Examples: Cis-Platin; Humic acid complexes, Gd-based contrast agents
Interest: Study of complex stability, study of the influence of ligands on complex characteristics such as mobility, bioavailability and toxicity

Type: Organometallic compounds
Examples: Methylmercury; Tetraethyllead; Tributyltin; Arsenobetaine
Interrest: Different toxicity; bioavailability and bioaccumulation in organisms; contamination of food; fate in the environment; degradation reactions

Type: Biomolecules
Examples: Metalloproteins; Arsenosugar; Selenoamino acids
Interest: Study of biological function; Study of metabolism;

The different types of species have different stabilities and therefore require different attention with respect to sampling, sample preparation and analysis. Oxidation species and complexes do have limited thermodynamic and kinetic stability and therefore can easily be transformed during analysis.  Biomolecules do have limited stability mostly under biological conditions with respect to temperature, pH and redox state and can easily be degraded during analysis under harsh conditions. Organometallic compounds are the most stable chemical species and therefore can often be separated even under more harsh conditions as used for gas chromatographic separation.

 Related EVISA Resources: Brief summaries

About Speciation

   Speciation as a discipline in Analytical Chemistry – Definitions   
   Why should elemental speciation be done ?
   Why is elemental speciation analysis not done routinely ?
   Speciation analysis as a tool to enhance the quality of life
   Speciation and Toxicity

Research fields related to elemental speciation

   Chemical speciation analysis for the life sciences
   Chemical speciation analysis for nutrition and food science
   Trace element speciation analysis for environmental sciences
   Speciation analysis for the study of metallodrugs and their biomolecular interactions

Speciation Analysis - Striving for Quality

   Problems to be solved in the field of speciation analysis
   Error sources in speciation analysis - Overview
   Sample preservation for speciation analysis - General recommendations
   Species transformation during speciation analysis
   Certified Reference Materials for Chemical Speciation Analysis
   Standard methods for elemental speciation analysis

Tools for elemental speciation analysis

   ICP-MS - A versatile detection system for speciation analysis
   LC-ICP-MS - The most often used hyphenated system for speciation analysis
   CE-ICP-MS for speciation analysis
   ESI-MS: The tool for the identification of species
   Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry as a Detection System for Speciation Analysis
   Fractionation as a first step towards speciation analysis
   Flow-injection inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry for speciation analysis
   Gel electrophoresis combined with laser ablation ICP-MS for speciation analysis

last time modified: November 3, 2023


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