Comparison of neutron activation analysis with conventional detection techniques for the evaluation of trace elemental contamination in Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) feathers
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Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) was used to determine trace elemental contamination in bird feathers. Primary feathers from twelve mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) ducks, migrating through the Thousand Islands region of Ontario, Canada, were analyzed for selenium, mercury, chromium, arsenic and antimony. Certified reference materials were used to assess the quality of the analytical procedure. Quantification of chemical elements was performed using Ortec Gamma Vision software. Five chemical elements were quantified, with corresponding analytical uncertainties of less than 20%. Results indicated the presence of As (max = 0.13 mg kg -1 ), Cr (max = 2.6 mg kg -1 ), Hg (max = 7.7 mg kg -1 ), Sb (max = 0.31 mg kg -1 ) and Se (max = 1.31 mg kg -1 ). To assess the validity of using INAA as a quantitative analytical technique for feather samples, two standard reference materials were examined and mercury results were compared to those obtained from both direct mercury analysis (DMA) and cold vapour atomic absorption spectroscopy (CVAAS). Several CVAAS results differed significantly from the INAA results; in many instances CVAAS appeared to under-report when compared to INAA, with relative percent difference values as high as 126%. Conversely, results obtained using DMA compared favourably with INAA. For all samples, RPD values were within 30%. This is the first study to use INAA to examine feather contamination in Canadian migratory waterfowl and the first to corroborate INAA feather results by comparing them to those obtained using CVAAS and DMA. © 2010 Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary.
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