Preparation of environmental samples for chemical speciation of metal/metalloids: A review of extraction techniques
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Chemical speciation is a relevant topic in environmental chemistry since the (eco)toxicity, bio (geo)chemical cycles, and mobility of a given element depend on its chemical forms (oxidation state, organic ligands, etc.). Maintaining the chemical stability of the species and avoiding equilibrium disruptions during the sample treatment is one of the biggest challenges in chemical speciation, especially in environmental matrices where the level of concomitants/interferents is normally high. To achieve this task, strategies based on chemical properties of the species can be carried out and pre-concentration techniques are often needed due to the low concentration ranges of many species (μg L-1 – ng L-1). Due to the significance of the topic and the lack of reviews dealing with sample preparation of metal (loid)s (usually, sample preparation reviews focus on the total metal content), this work is presented. This review gives an up-to-date overview of the most common sample preparation techniques for environmental samples (water, soil, and sediments), with a focus on speciation of metal/metalloids and determination by spectrometric techniques. Description of the methods is given, and the most recent applications (last 10 years) are presented.