For pharmaceutical applications, the use of inorganic engineered nanoparticles is of growing interest while silver (Ag) and gold (Au) are the most relevant elements. A few methods were developed recently but the validation and the application testing were quite limited. Therefore, a routinely suitable multi element method for the identification of nanoparticles of different sizes below 100. nm and elemental composition by applying asymmetric flow field flow fraction (AF4) - inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) is developed. A complete validation model of the quantification of releasable pharmaceutical relevant inorganic nanoparticles based on Ag and Au is presented for the most relevant aqueous matrices of tap water and domestic waste water. The samples are originated from locations in the Netherlands and it is of great interest to study the unwanted presence of Ag and Au as nanoparticle residues due to possible health and environmental risks. During method development, instability effects are observed for 60. nm and 70. nm Ag ENPs with different capping agents. These effects are studied more closely in relation to matrix effects. Besides the methodological aspects, the obtained analytical results and relevant performance characteristics (e.g. measuring range, limit of detection, repeatability, reproducibility, trueness, and expanded uncertainty of measurement) are determined and discussed. For the chosen aqueous matrices, the results of the performance characteristics are significantly better for Au ENPs in comparison to Ag ENPs; e.g. repeatability and reproducibility are below 10% for all Au ENPs respectively maximal 27% repeatability for larger Ag ENPs. The method is a promising tool for the simultaneous determination of releasable pharmaceutical relevant inorganic nanoparticles.
- Asymmetric flow field flow fractionation
- Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry