Agriculture of testing potential mining areas before incurring the

Agriculture – analysing
soil and plants for minerals necessary for growth

Trace metals are
essential for plant growth. Atomic spectroscopy facilitates precise soil
analysis to ensure that metals are not at levels that could unduly affect the food
source (livestock and/or crops). Plants may be sampled to monitor nutrient
uptake efficiency and also to check for toxic metal accumulation for health
reasons.

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Industrial and Chemical –
analysing raw chemicals as well as fine chemicals

From the analysis of raw
materials and components to finished product testing and quality control,
industrial and chemical manufacturers require accurate analytical techniques to
ensure the safety and performance of their products. Many raw materials are
examined and AAS is widely used to check that the major elements are present
and that toxic impurities are lower than specified – eg. in concrete, where
calcium is a major constituent, the lead level should be low because it is
toxic.

 

Environmental Study –
determination of heavy metals in water, soil, and air

In the environment we
live in, understanding heavy-metal contamination is critical. The accurate
measurement of concentrations of these metals is imperative to maintain clean
air, water and soil for a safer world. AAS is used to monitor our environment-
eg. finding out the levels of various elements in rivers, seawater, drinking
water, air, petrol and drinks such as wine, beer and fruit drinks.

 

Food Industry – quality
assurance and testing for contamination

Accurate analysis of food
for nutritional content, contamination or authenticity – the exact geographic
source of the product – is critical for regulatory and quality assurance.

 

Forensic Science –
substance identification

AAS functions in
determination of trace elements, mode of poisoning, and ammunition
manufacturers, elemental profiles of biological samples, trace elements in
artificial fibres, hair analysis for heavy metal poisons and discrimination of
objects/elements.

 

Mining – testing the
concentration of valuable substances in potential mining areas

Atomic spectroscopy
offers a fast, accurate solution for broad geological surveys as well as an
invaluable means of testing potential mining areas before incurring the high costs
associated with digging. By using AAS, the amount of metals such as gold in
rocks can be determined to see whether it is worth mining the rocks to extract
the gold

 

Nuclear Energy –
monitoring potentially hazardous elements in water and waste output

Operating under constant
scrutiny, the nuclear field is required to monitor and measure the levels of a
variety of elements to an exacting degree. Atomic spectroscopy is commonly used
to determine trace elements in everything from process water to low-level
waste.

 

Petrochemical – analysing
products for metals and other substances that can have adverse effects such as
oil and gas

From petroleum refining
to a broad spectrum of applications using lubricants and oils, many industries
require the determination of metals – particularly analytes that can lead to degradation
and contamination – to ensure conformity as well as monitor and control
processes.

 

Pharmaceutical – many
applications from quality control to detecting impurities in drugs

Drug research, development
and production is dependent on elemental analysis, starting with the testing of
individual ingredients and continuing through production to final quality control,
as impurities can affect drug efficacy and metabolism. Most Pharmaceutical
Companies these days develop drugs which are targeted at specific cells in the
body. These drugs must be tested for correct activity but more importantly for
the absence of any adverse side reactions. In some pharmaceutical manufacturing
processes, minute quantities of a catalyst used in the process (usually a
metal) are sometimes present in the final product. By using AAS, the amount of
catalyst present can be determined.