Pre-Treatment Method for Metals Determination in Aqueous Samples


Executive Summary


Practical detection of heavy metals in aqueous samples is a challenge for many testing and monitoring stations around the world. Heavy metal poisoning is the cause of thousands of deaths and disabilities. Specifically, metals including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury have a direct impact on global health and are listed as four of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Ten Chemicals of Major Concern” due to their carcinogenic and toxic effect.  Typically, blood samples are collected at a physician’s office or a local diagnostic center and sent to an external lab for analysis. The blood samples are then processed using microwave-assisted digestion (MAD) or acid digestion with heat to break down all organic material in the blood and leave behind the metal ions. Acid digestion with heat, is less expensive but requires long processing time. Standard microwave-digestion systems are costly but faster. Both pretreatment methods require a substantial sample volume for analysis. The market is open for a quick turnaround, reliable, low sample volume, pretreatment and processing unit for blood samples to measure specific heavy metals such as lead.


Description of Technology


This technology is a method of pretreatment for biological and other applicable samples for heavy metal detection. The pretreatment method increases digestion efficiency and decreases sample turnaround. The method uses electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) with proprietary electrodes to breakdown organic material in samples allowing for metal ions to be free in solution. After pretreatment, detection can be achieved, for example, using ICP-MS, GF-AAS, or electroanalytical methods such as anodic or cathodic stripping voltammetry (ASV/CSV). It is important to note that the disclosed procedure can be adapted to any aqueous sample, whether it be environmental or biological.


Key Benefits

  • Faster than acid digestion with heat method of pretreatment and less expensive than microwave assisted digestion.
  • Recyclable and Reusable materials for separation process.



  • Blood Analysis
    • Lead Detection in Blood
  • Organic Sample Detection
    • Wastewater
    • Drinking Water Sources


Patent Status: 


Patent Pending


Licensing Rights Available


All rights available




Dr. Cory Rusinek, Michael Becker, Dr. Thomas Schuelke


Tech ID:




Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University