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Tao Chen

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Ivan S. Palmer


Selenium is an element which is widely distributed in a small concentration in the earth's crust. It has high biological activity. Selenium toxicity was found in animals which ingested the excessive selenium (Beath, et al., 1934). During the late 1950s the beneficial effects of selenium in animal nutrition were discovered (Schwarz and Foltz, 1957). The deficiency of selenium in the animal body has caused a number of diseases, such as, white muscle disease, etc. Selenium is so essential to animals that much research has been done on the element. The determination of the selenium content in different materials is an important part of selenium research and various methods have been developed for the determination of selenium. The traditional methods, such as gravimetric and volumetric methods, are commonly used for macro determination of selenium. Neutron activation analysis has traditionally been used to determine trace selenium concentrations. The fluorometric method with 2, 3-diaminonaphthalene as the extracting reagent has been successfully applied to the determination of the micro and submicro amounts of selenium (Watkinson, 1966). The hydride generator combined with atomic absorption spectroscopy maintains the sensitivity while decreasing the interference exhibited by the other atomic absorption methods. The hydride generation atomic absorption method has been used to determine small amounts of selenium (Goulden and Brooksbank, 1974). Due to their convenience, the fluorometric and hydride generation atomic absorption methods have become very popular methods. Both methods have been widely applied to the determination of selenium in various samples such as soil, plant, mineral and water, etc. The principles of fluorometry and hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry are different. The factors that may affect the results of these two methods are different. Both methods have their own interfering materials (Levesque and Vendette, 1971; Hershey and Keliher, 1986). To select the reference methods for the determination of selenium in biological materials, some interlaboratory studies have compared the results of analyzing biological samples by several methods including fluorometry and hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry. One example of such a study is that by Heydorn and Griepink (1990). The aims of this work are to evaluate the equivalency of the fluorometric method and the continuous hydride generation atomic absorption method of selenium analysis on a common set of samples in our laboratory where all variables except method of detection can be held constant; a second aim is to identify materials which interfere with one or both methods and to devise methods to overcome such interference.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Selenium -- Analysis
Fluorimetry -- Evaluation
Atomic absorption spectroscopy -- Evaluation




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