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Pure Appl. Chem., 2008, Vol. 80, No. 12, pp. 2577-2594

Metallomics, elementomics, and analytical techniques

Yu-Feng Li1, Chunying Chen1,2, Ying Qu2, Yuxi Gao1, Bai Li1, Yuliang Zhao1,2 and Zhifang Chai1

1 Key Laboratory of Nuclear Analytical Techniques and Laboratory for Bio-Environmental Effects of Nanomaterials and Nanosafety, Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
2 National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing 100190, China

Abstract: Metallomics is an emerging and promising research field which has attracted more and more attention. However, the term itself might be restrictive. Therefore, the term "elementomics" is suggested to encompass the study of nonmetals as well. In this paper, the application of state-of-the-art analytical techniques with the capabilities of high-throughput quantification, distribution, speciation, identification, and structural characterization for metallomics and elementomics is critically reviewed. High-throughput quantification of multielements can be achieved by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and neutron activation analysis (NAA). High-throughput multielement distribution mapping can be performed by fluorescence-detecting techniques such as synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence (SR-XRF), XRF tomography, energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX), proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE), laser ablation (LA)-ICP-MS, and ion-detecting-based, secondary-ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), while Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) and Raman microspectroscopy are excellent tools for molecular mapping. All the techniques for metallome and elementome structural characterization are generally low-throughput, such as X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), NMR, and small-angle X-ray spectroscopy (SAXS). If automation of arraying small samples, rapid data collection of multiple low-volume and -concentration samples together with data reduction and analysis are developed, high-throughput techniques will be available and in fact have partially been achieved.