Recently published on Spectroscopy, this column describes the work of Professor Luis Fernandez and his team in the Department of Biology at Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina, who are leading a project to study the effects of illegal artisanal gold mining using mercury amalgamation extraction on the human and environmental ecosystem of Peru’s Madre de Dios region of the Amazon.
The purpose of organic trace analysis is to obtain information about the organic molecules present in the sample matrix of interest.
So why is organic trace analysis so hard?
There are millions of organic compounds that have been characterized in the chemical literature, with still millions more that are waiting to be discovered. The biggest problem with organic trace analysis is isolating the single compound of interest from the rest of the organic soup.