The effects of different sample preparation strategies and storage on metal(loid) fractionation trends in plant material is largely underresearched. In this study, a bulk sample of lichen Parmotrema austrosinense (Zahlbr.) Hale was analysed for its total extractable metal(loid) content by ICP-MS, and was determined to be adequately homogenous (<5% RSD) for most elements. Several subsets of this sample were prepared utilising a range of sample preservation techniques and subjected to a modified sequential extraction procedure or to total metal extraction. Both experiments were repeated after 1-month storage at 4 °C. Cryogenic freezing gave the best reproducibility for total extractable elemental concentrations between months, indicating this to be the most suitable method of sample preparation in such studies. The combined extraction efficiencies were >82% for As, Cu, Mn, Pb, Sr and Zn but poor for other elements, where sample preparation strategies ‘no sample preparation’ and ‘dried in a desiccator’ had the best extraction recoveries. Cryogenic freezing procedures had a significantly (p < 0.05) negative effect on metal extractability, and is therefore inappropriate for sequential extraction procedures in lichens. Biotransformation over a period of a month is suspected for most elements, with the exception of Sr and Zn, where changes in the fractionation patterns were statistically significant (p < 0.05), indicating the need for minimal delay in sample cleaning and preservation when species fractionation patterns are of interest. This study also shows that the assumption that species stability can be ensured through cryopreservation and freeze drying techniques needs to be revisited.
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 13, 2017
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