Fluorine-Induced Chemiluminescence Detection of Biologically Methylated Tellurium, Selenium, and Sulfur Compounds

T. G. Chasteen(*), G. M. Silver, J. W. Birks, and R. Fall

(*) now at Department of Chemistry, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas USA, and

Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA

Chromatographia, 1990, Vol. 30(3/4), pages 181-185.


The sensitive detection of volatile, methylated selenium and tellurium compounds based on capillary gas chromatography coupled to fluorine-induced chemiluminescence detection is described. The method requires no sample derivatization, and the detection limits for selenides and tellurides (low pg range) are the lowest reported to date. This technique can resolve and speciate complex mixtures of methylated tellurium, selenium, and sulfur gases and is useful for analysis of selenium and tellurium gases in environmental samples that also contain usually interfering reduced sulfur gases. Applications of the technique for analysis of bacterial and fungal headspace samples are presented.