Portable kit for mercury speciation analysis

Technology description

Fish is the main source of mercury and methylmercury (MeHg) in the human diet. Until now the legal limit referred to total mercury (HgTOT), but the interest in the simultaneous quantification of both forms is increasing. The official methods currently used require laboratory equipment, extraction procedures with organic solvents, use of gas, microwave pretreatment, etc.
The portable pre-treatment procedure which involves heating the sample to (60-70 ° C) in a portable food warmer. Two aliquots of fresh sample are brought into test tubes in contact with specific extracting mixtures: the first to quantitatively extract all the mercury (HgTOT), the second to extract the two forms as as chlorinated compounds with different chemical characteristics. This latter solution is passed into a cartridge containing the "CYXAD" solid phase developed by us: this quantitatively holds HgIN, while the MeHg is eluted. The eluate containing MeHg is discarded, while the immobilized HgIN on CYXAD is recovered by elution with HNO3. The determination of the HgTOT, deriving from the first aliquot, and that of the HgIN (in the second) are determined by voltammetry with gold electrode. The concentration of MeHg is obtained by difference.

  • Control of fish matrices directly on boats
  • Control of fish matrices in temporary laboratories set up in port areas
  • Screening method to increase controls and reduce costs
  • Food control (fish, mussels, feed)
  • Environmental matrix control
Key advantages
  • Portability
  • Simplicity
  • It does not include the use of organic solvents
  • It does not include the use of gas
  • It does not require the use of microwaves and/or high temperatures for pretreatment
  • Low purchase and management costs
Filing date and application number

Filing date: 16/04/2019

Application number: 102019000005904




Università degli Studi di Torino