Water soluble tertiary amines enhance signals and decrease polyatomic chloride interferences in the direct inductively coupled plasma - mass spectrometric (ICP-MS) determination of As and Se in biological samples. Preliminary experiments with amine concentrations and nebulizer flow rates produced element and interference signal intensity changes. Arsenic and Se ICP-MS determination parameters have been optimized by a simplex procedure with amines in an argon plasma or without amines but with addition of N2 to the Ar. Variables include RF (radio frequency) power, nebulizer gas flow rate, intermediate gas flow rate, and amine concentration or nitrogen gas flow rate. Detection limit, minimization of polyatomic ion intensities, and reproducibility have been evaluated as reponse factors. The signal enhancement and element-to-molecular interference ratios differ to some extent with analyte intensity optimum operating conditions. The detection limits with addition of nitrogen (16 pg mL-1 for As and 180 pg mL-1 for Se) or of amines (8 pg mL-1 for As and 120 pgmL-1 for Se) and the extent of chloride interference minimization were compared. Amines addition was more beneficial. Biological standard reference materials and food and fecal samples were analyzed following different sample dissolution procedures.
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