Trace elements in bovine muscle: An ongoing project for a new certified reference material

S. Caroli, M. Spagnoli, G. Forte, M. Alessandrelli, R. Cresti, S. D'Ilio, J. Pauwels, G. N. Kramer, Gy Záray

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In the framework of the activities of the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) for residues at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) of Rome, a number of proficiency tests were performed in order to assess and improve, wherever necessary, the quality of regulatory residue analysis within the EU. In this context, a pilot study was undertaken with the purpose of ascertaining the feasibility of a project for the certification of a new reference material for trace elements in bovine muscle. On behalf of the ISS, approximately 70 kg of bovine muscle, collected at a slaughterhouse in Geel (Belgium), were freeze-dried, homogenized, stabilized and bottled under argon atmosphere by the Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, Joint Research Centre, European Commission (IRMM-JRC-EC). Preliminary analyses were carried out with Quadrupole (Q) and High Resolution (HR) Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) to evaluate the content of As, Cd, Cu and Pb, whereas the Flow Injection Mercury System (FIMS) was used to quantify Hg. Digestion of the matrix was achieved by acid-assisted microwave irradiation. The mean values of experimentally obtained data were the following (in nanograms per gram): As, 24.2 ± 1.2; Cd, 5.48 ± 0.29; Cu, 4765 ± 95; Hg, 3.37 ± 0.73; and Pb, 184 ± 7. Subsequently, 16 National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) for residues in the Member States plus the Norwegian one and eight Italian public laboratories were accepted to participate in the project and received one bottle of the freeze-dried bovine muscle. The laboratories were requested to perform three different analytical runs (in three different days), each consisting of three individual measurements. Preliminary results showed good agreement and fair evidence for homogeneity of the entire mass, thus setting the stage for the future certification of this candidate CRM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-243
Number of pages9
JournalMicrochemical Journal
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2000



  • Bovine muscle
  • Certified reference material
  • Cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry
  • Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
  • Interlaboratory trial
  • Trace elements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

Cite this

Caroli, S., Spagnoli, M., Forte, G., Alessandrelli, M., Cresti, R., D'Ilio, S., Pauwels, J., Kramer, G. N., & Záray, G. (2000). Trace elements in bovine muscle: An ongoing project for a new certified reference material. Microchemical Journal, 67(1-3), 235-243.