Determination of ferrous and ferric iron in aqueous biological solutions.
A solvent extraction method was employed to determine ferrous and ferric iron in aqueous samples. Fe(3+) is selectively extracted into the organic phase (n-heptane) using HDEHP (bis(2-ethylhexyl) hydrogen phosphate) and is then stripped using a strong acid. After separation, both oxidation states and the total iron content were determined directly by ICP-MS analysis. This extraction method was refined to allow determination of both iron oxidation states in the presence of strong complexing ligands, such as citrate, NTA and EDTA. The accuracy of the method was verified by crosschecking using a refinement of the ferrozine assay. Presented results demonstrate the ability of the extraction method to work in a microbiological system in the presence of strong chelating agents following the bioreduction of Fe(3+) by the Shewanella alga BrY. Based on the results we report, a robust approach was defined to separately analyze Fe(3+) and Fe(2+) under a wide range of potential scenarios in subsurface environments where radionuclide/metal contamination may coexist with strongly complexing organic contaminants.