Rapid Toxic Metal Detection

Rapid Toxic Metal Detection

Author: David Bradley

Highly porous magnetic microspheres can mop up toxic metals in samples for rapid detection of contaminated drinking water by using a modified electrode. The microspheres are based on an aluminum mineral used to modify silica/iron oxide particles. They enable glassy carbon electrodes (GCE) to detect toxic metal ions such as zinc, cadmium, lead, copper, mercury. The magnetic microspheres have a high capacity for adsorbing these ions, making the modified GCE both specific and sensitive to their presence in a water sample even at trace levels.

Detection of even trace quantities of these ions in drinking water is important as they can all accumulate in tissue and bone and have a long biological half-life of 10–15 years making them troublesome in terms of bioaccumulation.

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