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Dierengezondheidszorg Vlaanderen Torhout

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Abstract Bachelor Project FBT 2018-2019: Determination of iodine, selenium and zinc in serum using ICP-MS

Research has shown that there are deficiencies of minerals such as selenium, zinc and iodine in cattle on many cattle farms. These deficiencies cause a decrease in milk and meat production. Therefore, a reliable analysis method to detect these minerals in serum is important. The purpose of this research was to develop and optimize a method to measure the concentrations of these minerals in serum via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

Firstly, a calibration curve was measured and compared to a reference run, showing that zinc contamination had occurred at some point. To detect where the contamination happened, 1- butanol was replaced by ethanol to prepare the diluent solution. The results showed a strong decrease of the zinc level in the calibration standards. Afterwards, the diluent solution was made with demineralized water instead of ultrapure water, resulting in a small decrease of the zinc level. To optimize the detection of selenium, four different ethanol concentrations in the diluent solution were tested. This showed that a higher ethanol concentration led to better results.

However, because a higher ethanol concentration resulted in a higher zinc level, a middle ground had to be chosen. To finish this research, a calibration curve was measured using a few samples with known concentrations of zinc, selenium and iodine. When these results were compared, no substantial difference was observed.

From these results, it can be concluded that the used method is almost ready for measurement of mineral concentrations in cattle serum. In the future, a validation must be performed while keeping the zinc contamination as low as possible.


Industrielaan 29
8820 Torhout


Sofie Missiaen
Traineeship supervisor
Thalia Vanblaere
Traineeship supervisor
Liesbeth Allais
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