A sensitive method has been developed for the sequential determination of V, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Mo and Sb in sea water using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) after electrothermal vaporization of their dithiocarbamate complexes in methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK). After complexion with sodium diethyldithiocarbamate (NaDDTC), all trace analyte elements were simultaneously separated from sea water matrix and concentrated 20 fold in a single extract of MIBK, followed by introduction of 10 μL of the extract into argon plasma using a pyrolytic graphite rod electrothermal vaporizer (ETV). Sensitivity enhancement due to chemical modification using a mixed modifier of Pd(NO3)2-Mg(NO3)2 was observed for all the elements. The limits of detection ranged from 2 ng/L for Co to 329 ng/L for V. For replicate determinations of the elements in sea water, the repeatability was within 10% (as a coefficient variation), except for V (12.8%). The recovery test performed on a sea water sample resulted in a range value from 87% for Sb to 119% for V. The method has been successfully applied to sea water samples collected from the surface to the depth of 5000 m at a sampling station in the northwest Pacific Ocean.
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