Speciation of Metallo-Cyanide Complexes by Ion-Interaction Chromatography and Ultra-Trace Fluorescence Detection

EPA Contract Number: 68D00229
Title: Speciation of Metallo-Cyanide Complexes by Ion-Interaction Chromatography and Ultra-Trace Fluorescence Detection
Investigators: Haas, John W.
Small Business: Applied Research Associates Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2000 through March 1, 2001
Project Amount: $69,989
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , SBIR - Monitoring , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The Phase I objective is to establish feasibility for separation and ultra-trace detection of metallo-cyanides by assembling, optimizing, and interfacing a novel digestion/derivatization system to a conventional high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-fluorescence instrument. A rapid, cost-effective, and safe method will be developed to quantify individual metallo-cyanide species at a part-per-trillion (ppt) concentration in environmental samples. The method will provide data for both cyanide and metals in a single analysis. Such detailed information is critically needed for accurate risk assessment at hazardous waste sites. Applied Research Associates, Inc., will use high-resolution, ion-interaction chromatography to separate the toxic, bioavailable cyanides from the nontoxic, inert cyanides, and background interferents that cause inaccurate results from accepted methods. The individual complexes will be dissociated by online, postcolumn photolysis under alkaline conditions. Elimination of the acid digestion procedure used in presently accepted methods will avoid the generation of potentially lethal hydrogen cyanide gas. The cyanide ions that are released in base will be reacted with a cyanide-specific reagent to form a highly fluorescent derivative detectable at ppt concentrations with conventional fluorescence HPLC detectors.

In Phase II, the method will be further developed and validated through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Technology Verification Program for particular waste site monitoring scenarios. Samples from a variety of cyanide-contaminated sites will be analyzed as part of method validation and approval. The postcolumn apparatus also will be integrated into a compact sensor that can be manufactured and deployed with an HPLC or as a stand-alone unit for onsite environmental and industrial applications. This will extend the commercial application of the method and equipment beyond traditional analytical laboratory service to include online monitoring of chemical processes, nerve agent detection, and onsite field monitoring.

In Phase III, the method and hardware will be commercialized and marketed by Applied Research Associates and its manufacturing division, VERTEK. With internal funding, Applied Research Associates will develop analytical laboratory services for ultra-trace cyanide monitoring targeting environmental, industrial, forensic, and medical research customers. The methods also will be commercialized through licensing to other analytical laboratories. As part of their well established cone penetrometer equipment and service business, Applied Research Associates will adapt (miniaturize) the device for use in the cone penetrometer for in situ detection of cyanide in groundwater at hazardous waste, mining, and manufactured gas plant sites.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, hazardous waste, monitoring, analytical, engineering, chemistry, Environmental Technology Verification Program, ETV Program, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, National Recommended Water Quality, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Hazardous Waste, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Hazardous, 33/50, chromatography, monitoring, cyanide, ultra trace fluorescence detection, metal detection, metal complexes, cyanide compounds, ultra-trace fluorescence detection, speciation, metallo-cyanide complexes, trace metals, ion-interaction chromatography

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report