ISSN print edition: 0366-6352
ISSN electronic edition: 1336-9075
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Determination of key elements in plant samples by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry with electrothermal vaporization

Luisa Šerá, Martin Loula, Stanislava Matějková, and Oto Mestek

University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Prague, Czech Republic



Abstract: Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry combined with electrothermal vaporization (ETV) was used for determination of Ba, Ca, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, P, Sr, Zn, S, and Se in plant materials. Optimized temperature program comprised a pyrolysis phase (duration 60 s and max. temperature 600 °C) and analytical phase (duration 70 s and temperature gradually increasing to 2500 °C); dichlorodifluoromethane (known as Freon R12) was used as a chemical modifier. High plasma power for robust plasma conditions was used. Calibrations based on certified reference materials of plant and animal origin and aqueous calibration solutions were linear for most of the used spectral lines and were stable for several months. Limits of detection were in the range from 7 to 1100 mg/kg for plant main elements and from 0.074 to 4.3 mg/kg for plant minor and trace elements. The precision of results was below 6%, and recovery was 83–116%. Results of inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry with ETV were in good agreement with results of inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry with pneumatic nebulization sample introducing system and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry obtained in the same laboratory, and differences between results were generally lower than 10%. Then, the amounts of selected elements, which are important indicators of plant health and nutritional value, were determined. The agreement of our results with results obtained in another laboratory was acceptable in case of S, K, Ca, and Se (differences lower than 10%). In case of determination of Mg, P, Cu, Mn, and Zn, the differences ranged from 20 to 25%.

Keywords: Optical emission spectrometry ; Inductively coupled plasma ; Plants ; Electrothermal vaporization ; Trace elements 

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-019-00858-y


Chemical Papers 73 (12) 3005–3017 (2019)

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