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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Preliminary study of the effects of some physical parameters on the stability of methylmercury in biological samples.

The effects of storage conditions (long-term storage of wet samples in a deep-freeze or thermal cycling), freeze-drying and gamma-irradiation at 1 and 5 Mrad on the stability of methylmercury in some biological samples were investigated. Methylmercury was determined by volatilization separation followed by gas chromatography and by ion-exchange separation of inorganic and organic species followed by measurement by cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CVAAS). Total mercury was determined by CVAAS. Biological samples studied included fish and shellfish tissues, human hair and blood samples and appropriate reference materials. From the preliminary results obtained it can be concluded that fresh and dried fish muscle and fish certified reference materials show good stability with time and against temperature cycling. Shellfish and blood should not be repeatedly frozen and unfrozen otherwise possible losses of methylmercury can occur. Losses of methylmercury of up to 30% from wet mussels occurred on prolonged storage in a deep-freeze. Gamma-irradiation reduced the methylmercury content of the fish and shellfish only for hake (Merluccius merluccius). Further experiments should be carried out to confirm this and to investigate if this effect is species dependent. Apparent losses of methylmercury on freeze-drying of blood need to be reconfirmed on further samples.[1]


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