Arsenic volatilization in the environment is thought to be an important pathway for transfer from terrestrial pools to the atmosphere. However, this phenomenon is not well characterized due to inherent sampling issues in trapping, quantifying and qualifying these arsine gases; including arsine (AsH(3)), monomethyl arsine (MeAsH(2)), dimethyl arsine (Me(2)AsH) and trimethyl arsine (TMAs). To quantify and qualify arsines in air we developed a novel technique based on silver nitrate impregnated silica gel filled tubes. The method was characterized by measuring the recovery of trapped arsines after elution of this chemo-trap with hot boiling diluted nitric acid. Results from three separate experiments, measured by ICP-MS, showed that the method is reproducible and quantitative. Arsine species recovery ranged from 80.1 to 95.6%, with limit of detection as low as 3.8 ng per chemo-trap tube. Moreover, HPLC-ICP-MS analysis of hot boiling water eluted traps showed that the corresponding oxy ions of the arsines were formed with the As-C bonds of the molecule intact, hence, allowing qualification of trapped arsine species. A microcosm study examining volatile arsenic evolution from field contaminated Bangladeshi paddy soils (24.2 mg/kg arsenic) was used to show the application of silver nitrate chemo-trapping approach. Traps were placed on the inlet and the outlet of microcosms containing the soils that were either (cattle derived) manured or not, or flooded or not, in a factorial design. The headspace was purged with air at a flow rate of 12 mL/min. Results showed that as much as 320 ng of arsenic (0.014% of total soil content) could be emitted in a 3 week period for manured and flooded soils and that TMAs was the dominant species evolved, with lesser quantities of Me(2)AsH. No volatile arsenic evolution was observed for nonmanured treatments, and arsine release from the nonflooded, manured treatment was much less than the flooded treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry