Application Note

Simple and Reliable Determination of Heavy Metals in Soil with the PinAAcle 900H AA Spectrometer


The heavy metal contamination of soil is one of the most widespread and severe environmental problems. This pollution not only decreases crop production, but also affects the health of people consuming the resulting food. With the increased knowledge about the impact of heavy metals from food on human health, the quality of soil resources has attracted considerable attention and concern.

Because they do not degrade and are toxic, heavy metals accumulate in the human body, leading to various serious diseases, including cancer. Cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and chromium (Cr) are commonly regarded as extremely toxic elements since they are harmful to humans, even at low concentrations. Zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni) and copper (Cu) are essential metals for plants at trace concentrations but are toxic if present at higher concentrations. Therefore, routine monitoring of these six metals in soil is vitally important to protect the quality and safety of food.

This work describes the analysis Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Ni, and Zn in soil using the PinAAcle 900H AA spectrometer, leveraging a rapid digestion procedure which uses less acid than conventional digestion methods.