Measurement of the Trace Elements Cu, Zn, Fe, and Mg and the Ultratrace Elements Cd, Co, Mn, and Pb in Limited Quantity Human Plasma and Serum Samples by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry


In public health studies limited volumes of blood are often collected and stored for future hypothesis testing. Archived samples are irreplaceable and therefore it is valuable to develop analytical techniques that require minimal sample vo-lume. This work describes the measurement of trace elements Mg, Cu, Fe, Zn and ultratrace elements Cd, Co, Mn, Pb in limited quantity (150 μL) human serum or plasma samples. Samples were digested using a hotblock and analyzed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The analytical method was evaluated using a quadrupole (Q) and sector field high resolution (SF) instrument to analyze trace elements in Seronorm? quality control serum material. The method was used to analyze 1888 blinded human plasma samples which were archived for the National Cancer Institute from the Nutrition Intervention Trial in Linxian China. The inductively coupled plasma method was capable of accurately analyzed limited quantity samples of human serum and plasma for the trace elements Mg, Cu, Fe Zn and the ultra trace elements Co, Mn and Pb. The concentration of Cd in human plasma samples was below the level of detection for 75% of the samples analyzed.

Share and Cite:

Li, G. , Brockman, J. , Lin, S. , Schell, L. and Robertson, J. (2012) Measurement of the Trace Elements Cu, Zn, Fe, and Mg and the Ultratrace Elements Cd, Co, Mn, and Pb in Limited Quantity Human Plasma and Serum Samples by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. American Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 3, 646-650. doi: 10.4236/ajac.2012.39084.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] H. Vanhoe, R. Dams and J. Versieck, “Use of Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry for the Determination of Ultra-Trace Elements in Human Serum,” Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1994, pp. 23-31. Hdoi:10.1039/ja9940900023
[2] E. Barany, I. A. Bergdahl, L. E. Bratteby, et al., “Trace Element Levels in Whole Blood and Serum from Swedish Adolescents,” Science of The Total Environment, Vol. 286, No. 1-3, 2002, pp. 129-141. Hdoi:10.1016/S0048-9697(01)00970-6
[3] H. Vanhoe, C. Vandecasteele, J. Versieck and R. Dams, “Determination of Iron, Cobalt, Copper, Zinc, Rubidium, Molybdenum, and Cesium in Human Serum by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry,” Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 61, No. 17, 1989, pp. 1851-1857. Hdoi:10.1021/ac00192a014
[4] R. Forrer, K. Gautschi and H. Lutz, “Simultaneous Measurement of the Trace Elements Al, As, B, Be, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Rb, Se, Sr, and Zn in Human Serum and Their Reference Ranges by ICP-MS,” Biological Trace Element Research, Vol. 80, No. 1, 2001, pp. 77-93. Hdoi:10.1385/BTER:80:1:77
[5] C. M. Sariego, J. L. Fernandez-Martin, J. M. Marchante-Gayon, et al., “Reference Values for Trace and Ultratrace Elements in Human Serum Determined by Double Focusing ICP-MS,” Biological Trace Element Research, Vol. 82, No. 1-2, 2001, pp. 259-272. Hdoi:10.1385/BTER:82:1-3:259
[6] J. A. Nobrega, M. C. Santos, R. A. de Sousa, S. Cadore, R. M. Barnes and M. Tatro, “Sample Preparation in Alkaline Media,” Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy, Vol. 61, No. 5, 2006, pp. 465-495. Hdoi:10.1016/j.sab.2006.02.006
[7] D. Beauchemin, “Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry,” Alytical Chemistry, Vol. 78, No. 12, 2006, pp. 4111-4135. Hdoi:10.1021/ac060712t
[8] J. Versieck, F. Barbier, R. Cornelis and J. Hoste, “Sample Contamination as a Source of Error in Trace-Element Analysis of Biological Samples,” Talanta, Vol. 29, No. 11, 1982, pp. 973-984. Hdoi:10.1016/0039-9140(82)80238-5
[9] J. Penny and S. Overgaard, “Serum Chromium Levels Sampled with Steel Needle versus Plastic IV Cannula. Does Method Matter?” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B, Vol. 92, No. 1, 2010, pp. 1-4. Hdoi:10.1002/jbm.b.31479

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.