Greener and wide applicability range flow-based spectrophotometric method for iron determination in fresh and marine water

Tânia C. F. Ribas, Raquel B. R. Mesquita, Tânia Moniz, Maria Rangel, António O. S. S. Rangel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A flow-based method for the spectrophotometric determination of iron in recreational waters, both fresh and marine (variable salinity content), was developed. For that purpose, 3-hydroxy-4-pyrydinone ligand functionalized with an ether function was synthetized and used as chromogenic chelator (1-(3′-methoxypropyl)-2-methyl-3-benzyloxy-4-(1H)pyridinone - MRB13) for iron quantification. This water-soluble reagent was previously reported as a greener alternative to quantify iron, due to its low toxicity and a more environmental friendly synthesis. Furthermore, it also displayed a high affinity and specificity for iron. With the main objective of quantifying iron in a variety of water types (different matrices and iron content), two strategies were developed, one of them including on-line solid-phase extraction (SPE), and the other without resorting to a SPE process. Water matrix clean-up and iron enrichment was achieved using a nitrilotriacetic acid resin column. The potential interference of metal ions usually present in water samples was assessed and no significant interference (<10%) was observed. The limits of detection were 11 and 2.9 μg L−1 without and with SPE, respectively. For one determination (three replicates), the corresponding consumption of MRB13 is 90 μg, sodium hydroxide is 1.4 mg, and boric acid is 5.6 mg. The method was applied to certified water samples and the results were in agreement with certified values. The developed method was also applied to fresh and marine water, and recovery ratios of 103 ± 4 and 101 ± 7 without and with SPE, respectively, were achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120925
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2020


  • 3-Hydroxy-4-pyridinone
  • Flow analysis
  • NTA
  • Solid-phase extraction


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