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Mercury – not only a problem in the Amazonas region

Mercury enters the environment mainly through combustion processes (e.g. coal-fired power plants) and volcanism.


Due to the so-called Grasshopper Effect, volatile substances accumulate in the coldest parts of the earth over time. Thus, the release of large amounts of harmful mercury from the thawing of permafrost soil poses a major hazard. It is assumed that the frozen biomass of Arctic permafrost soils contains about twice as much bound mercury as all other soils, the atmosphere and the oceans combined. The thawing of permafrost would trigger biological degradation processes that could release mercury into the environment, where it could harm, among other things, Arctic ecosystems, marine life in the oceans and human health. The biological transformation of Hg to much more toxic methylmercury is also conceivable due to the rising temperature.


For these reasons we are developing an online-SPE-HPLC-ICP-MS method including sample preparation, that can sensitively and selectively analyze inorganic Hg and methylmercury in sediments and soils.


To learn something about ICP-MS, ICP-OES or capillary electrophoresis, we still have places available:


From September 23 to 27, 2019, a course about ICP-OES, ICP-MS and CE (in German) will take place at the Teaching and Research Center for Separation at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Campus Essen).


This course deals not only with the theory of ICP-OES, ICP-MS and CE but also with a practical part, consisting of three experiments. In these experiments the participants will learn the differences in ICP-OES and ICP-MS, the coupling of HPLC to ICP-MS, the Agilent software and how to optimize a micellar electrokinetic chromatography (MEKC) separation with CE.


Further information and registrations are available on the homepage www.trc-separation.com .



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  • TRC-Separation
  • TRC-Separation

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