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Analysis of acid-volatile sulfide (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEM) for the estimation of potential toxicity in aquatic sediments



Analysis of acid-volatile sulfide (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEM) for the estimation of potential toxicity in aquatic sediments



Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 12(8): 1441-1453



Acid-volatile sulfide (AVS) and simultaneously extracted metals (SEM) are operationally defined methods for the analysis of sulfide and associated metals in aquatic sediments. The SEM-to-AVS ratio has been useful in explaining the results of bioassay tests of metal toxicants. This paper describes apparatus that can be used in the evolution of sulfide from sediments and a method for the analysis of the evolved sulfide and the liberated metal. The method was studied with respect to gas flow rate, digestion time, and acid concentration. Liberated and rapped sulfide was determined by a colorimetric method of analysis. Using the apparatus and conditions described in this paper, the colorimetric method of analysis is capable of detecting AVS at concentrations normally encountered with a recovery of sulfide of at least 90%. High precision is possible if this apparatus is used. The limit of detection of the method is approximately 0.01 mu-mol/g dry sediment. We added 6 M HCl to produce a final concentration of approximately 1 M for the release of the AVS and SEM from unheated samples. We found that sulfide was not released from pyrite (FeS-2) or copper sulfide (CuS) under these conditions. The liberation of copper from the two studied sediments indicates that copper was probably associated with another phase in these sediments. AVS is stable for several weeks in refrigerated or frozen samples.

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Accession: 008153016

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DOI: 10.1002/etc.5620120812


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