Method Development for Direct Multielement Quantification by LA-ICP-MS in Food Samples

A novel calibration strategy for the accurate determination of essential and toxic elements in both plant-based and animal-based foods was developed by synthesizing spiked agarose gels as matrix-matched external standards and carbon as the internal standard (IS). Aqueous solutions of agarose (4%, m/v) with defined amounts of the analytes were cast on a mold and then dried to form the agarose-gel standards. The spatial distributions of the analytes in the gel were examined using surface- and depth-mapping laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) protocols, and the gel homogeneity was found to be excellent (i.e., relative standard derivation <10%). Recovery of the 19 spiked elements in the gel standards was in the range of 86.9–94.7%. The limits of detection (LODs) ranged from 0.0005 (Rb) to 33.7 μg g–1 (S). Analysis results were in good agreement with certified values for various certified reference materials (CRMs). Furthermore, a porous rubber sample supporter was developed to improve the analysis throughput by about 3-fold.