Journal of Environmental Science and Health A, 2012, 47, 149. 

Hg2+ and CH3Hg+ are frequently encountered in the environment either as free ions or complexed with organic matter, such as humic acids. The majority of the reported HPLC-based separations of environmental mercury species, however, separate Hg2+ from CH3Hg+ in which the former species elutes close to the void volume. To detect mercury-species in environmental waters that may have so far escaped detection, a separation method is needed that sufficiently retains both Hg2+ and CH3Hg+. One way to develop such a method is to increase the retention of Hg2+ and CH3Hg+ using existing HPLC separations. We here report on the improvement of a previously reported RP-HPLC-based separation of Hg2+ and CH3Hg+ that employed a 100 % aqueous mobile phase [10 mM L-cysteine (Cys) in 50 mM phosphate buffer (pH 7.5)]. To increase the retention of Hg2+, Cys was replaced by the comparatively more hydrophobic N-acetylcysteine (N-Cys). To achieve a c...

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