TraceSpec 2016 – The 15th Workshop on Progress in Trace Metal Speciation for Environmental Analytical Chemistry

September 4-7 2016, Gdansk, Poland

The 15th Workshop on Progress in Trace Metal Speciation for Environmental Analytical Chemistry was held in September 4-7, 2016 in Gdańsk, one of the most famous academic, cultural and historical cities in Poland. It was organized by the International Association of Environmental Analytical Chemistry (IAEAC) in cooperation with Gdańsk University of Technology and Committee on Analytical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The meeting was an excellent forum for exchanging knowledge and ideas in order to stimulate creating new strategies in the field.

Scientific programme and exhibition

15th Workshop gathered together 130 delegates from 26 countries all over the world (fig. 1). During 4 days of TraceSpec meeting there were 59 speeches and almost 50 poster presentations (fig. 2). The oral sessions included 7 keynote lectures, 42 oral presentations and 12 short communications intended for young scientists (under 35 years old) . The exhibition booths were occupied by the representatives of 10 companies, who were presenting their latest field-related instrument solutions. SHIM-POL (Shimadzu) and Agilent Technologies used the opportunity to introduce their latest developments to the delegates by oral presentation.

The poster and oral sessions were divided into 10 sections:

  • QC / QA, reference materials, spectroscopic standards and chemometric data handling;
  • Nutrient-metal interactions;
  • Speciation analysis in biological tissues and body fluids;
  • Total element measurements, down to ultra-trace levels in all sample types using element-specific techniques;
  • Speciation studies combining several techniques;
  • Speciation of metal(loid)s in oceanography and freshwaters;
  • Elemental speciation in soil and plant interaction;
  • Elemental speciation methods of colloids and nano-particles;
  • Speciation analysis in petroleum chemistry;
  • Remediation Technologies.

Full scientific programme is available at: . Detailed information about the conference sponsors, partners and exhibitors may be also found on the conference website.

TraceSpec 2016 highlights

From 8th TraceSpec meeting in 2000, the main trend in topics of the lectures and presentations was strongly related to the development of novel analytical strategies in order to specify and understand the behaviour and interactions of trace metals in the environment. As prof. dr. José A.C. Broekaert, President of IAEAC, emphasized in his preface for 15th Workshop, “The determination of compounds is not obvious, as many methods are well element- but much less species-specific. The science of isolating the compounds and then determining them is true analytical science at the frontier level. Here, detailed knowledge on separation sciences as well as on physicochemical determination methods is asked for (…)”. It is strongly believed that presented during TraceSpec 2016 advances in trace metal speciation contribute significantly to the mission of the conference stated by IAEAC.

In order to provide the highest quality of oral sessions, they were opened by the lectures of 7 invited keynote speakers, undoubtedly the experts in this particular field. The titles of the lectures are presented below:

  • Nicola Pirrone “The strategic importance of having robust and innovative methods and technologies for environmental observations to support the implementation of policy”;
  • Jörg Feldmann “Arsenic speciation in mammalian tissues becomes more complex than ever”;
  • Joanna Szpunar “Electrospray MS: (r)evolution in speciation analysis”;
  • P Alex von Bohlen “Speciation using X-ray methods – possibilities and limitations”;
  • P Pilar Bermejo-Barrera “Speciation in the marine environment: from ions to macromolecules”;
  • P Eva Krupp “Mercury toxicity in marine animals –accumulation and detoxification of Hg and MeHg”;
  • Ewa Bulska “On the use of non-routine approaches towards understanding chemical speciation in plants”.

The richest in oral presentations sections were: Speciation studies combining several techniques – 8 speeches divided into 2 sessions and Speciation of metal(loid)s in oceanography and freshwaters – 7 speeches.

Besides the conference sessions, delegates could exchange ideas and create networks during social events prepared by the Organizers: the concert of Academic Choir of Gdańsk University of Technology together with “Symfonia Nordica” in St. John’s Church located in the heart of Gdańsk Old City and Get Together Party in Sopot.

Young Scientists Awards

During TraceSpec 2016 there was a special space for young scientists (under 35 years old) to share with their research in the form of Young Scientists Session consisting of short communications (10 min). The Evaluation Committee consisting of invited keynote speakers and Scientific Committee members coordinated by prof. Bernd Markert (assisted by prof. Simone Wünschmann) was asked by the Organizers to choose the best oral presentation. The Committee decided to give the splitted award to Kelly LeBlanc (Trent University, Ontario, Canada) for the presentation entitled “Separating the operationally-defined fraction: discrete organic selenium speciation in high ionic strength environmental samples” and Justyna Wojcieszek (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland) for the presentation entitled “Speciation analysis of cobalt in functional food by SEC-ICP MS”.

There were also three awards for the best poster presentations. The Evaluation Committee awarded the following posters:

  • Separation and determination of TiO2 nanoparticles in water by cloud point extraction and ICP-MS” presented by María Carmen Barciela-Alonso (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain);
  • “Isobaric dilution analysis as a new tool for speciation and ultra trace analysis of 99TC” presented by David Clases (University of Münster, Germany);
  • “Influence of cultivation conditions on biotranformation of selenium in onion (Allium cepa L.)” presented by Magdalena Michalska-Kacymirow (University of Warsaw, Poland).

Prof. Markert in his summarizing of the conference available at: strongly supported the idea of the separate session in the scientific programme dedicated to young scientists.

Next TraceSpec and future related conferences

Next Workshop on Progress in Trace Metal Speciation for Environmental Analytical Chemistry will be organized by Prof. Montserrat Filella in Geneva, Switzerland in 2018 in the modernized format as announced during closing ceremony of TraceSpec 2016.

The future conferences recommended by IAEAC are: XII LASEAC (Latin American Symposium on Environmental Analytical Chemistry), April 26-28, 2017, Manizalles, Colombia; The 5th International Symposium of Environmental Analytical Chemistry (ISEAC 5 – Asia), May, 16-20, 2017, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and BBMEC – 12th Workshop on Biosensor; Bioanalytical Microtechniques in Environmental, Food & Chemical Analysis.
September 26–30, 2017, Rome, Italy. All important information about mentioned events are available at:

dsc_3836Participants of TraceSpec 2016 in front of the Main Building of Gdańsk University of Technology

dsc_3733Poster session during second day of the conference in the Fahrenheit Courtyard of Main Building of Gdańsk University of Technology

R. Jędrkiewicz, J. Namieśnik


TraceSpec 2014, August 31-September 4 2014, Aberdeen, U.K.

Conference report: 17th BNASS and 14thTraceSpec Tandem Conference 2014
From 31st of August to the 4th of September 2014 the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) and the International Association of Environmental Analytical Chemistry (IAEAC) brought together two established analytical conferences to the 500 year old venue of the King’s College at the University of Aberdeen. More than 150 delegates from 32 countries have attended this tandem conference and exhibition. 12 Invited Lectures were given by international leaders in their disciplines from 10 different countries. These Lectures were accompanied by 54 oral and 80 poster presentations. While the lectures were given in the ancient King’s College conference centre were the posters presented in the nearby Elphinstone Hall in which also the eight main exhibitors presented their instrumentations.

provostLord Provost (right) with the conference organizer: Montserrat Filella (IAEAC), Eva Krupp (University of Aberdeen), Jackie Morton substituted Mike Foulkes (ASG), Jörg Feldmann (University of Aberdeen). Credit: Norman Adams-Aberdeen City Council

The conference program tried to mix traditional BNASS presentations which cover the use of XRF, AFS, ICP-MS for total element determination and traditional TraceSpec presentations about elemental speciation in environmental and biological contexts using hyphenated techniques coupled not only to elemental but also to molecular mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). All this was rounded up by the use of electrochemical methods and elemental modeling. Due to this format, the two communities mixed well and it is hoped that future collaborations between electrochemists and atomic spectroscopists have been forged.
Since the conference was held in the “Oil Capital of Europe” a particular emphasis was on trace metals in oil and gas to which especially representatives from the oil and gas industry were invited. After the invited lecture from Charles-Philippe Lienemann the session included oral presentations about elements such as mercury, sulfur and arsenic in petrochemical industrial products.
The other sessions listed below were all opened by an invited lecture:
– Metals in life sciences including ionomics in plant physiology (David Salt).
– Recent developments spectrometry including application of ICP-QQQ (Andrea Prange) and XRF (Christina Streli)
– Arsenic, selenium and mercury in environment and life including arsenic cytotoxicity (Joe Caruso and Tanja Schwerdtle)
– Electrochemical methods for trace elements in the environment including aspects of high frequency sampling (Gabriel Billon)
– Bioanalytical methods of speciation and bioimaging using LA-ICPMS including pharmaceutical applications using isotope ratio determinations (Frank Vanhaecke)
– Two sessions on nanoparticles and bioimaging including the determination of industrial nanoparticles (Jörg Bettmer) in biological samples (Eric H Larsen) and the determination of natural nanoparticles (Ralf Kägi)
– Routine analysis including the analysis of body fluids from patients of hip replacements (Chris Harrington) and aspects of trace element speciation to routine (Helle R Hansen).

allDelegates of the BNASS / TraceSpec Tandem conference in the Town House. Credit: Norman Adams-Aberdeen City Council

Six poster prizes were sponsored; three from the journal “Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry”, while one from “Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry”. One prize for the best BNASS contribution sponsored by the “Atomic Spectroscopy Group” of the RSC, while the Roland Frei Award was sponsored by the IAEAC for the bestTraceSpec contribution.
– Roland Frei Award (TraceSpec): Anna Santoro (Bangor University, Wales) for the following contribution: XANES and EXAFS characterization of coprecipitated Mg, Al, and As(V) layered double hydroxides (LDHs): effect of pH and aging time (A. Santoro, R. Terzano, S. Mangold, M. Denecke, A. Sommella, M. Pigna, A. Violante); Anna (left) with Montserrat Filella.

– BNASS-Prize: Manuel A. Bravo (Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, Chile) for the following contribution: Determination of tributyltin in environmental samples by second-order multivariate calibration and fluorescence spectroscopy: a simple approach without chromatography (M.A. Bravo, E. Bardin, T. Sanchez, L.F. Aguilar, W. Quiroz); Manuel with Jackie Morton.

– JAAS-Prize: Talke Marschall (University of Potsdam, Germany) for the following contribution: Cytotoxicity of low molecular selenium species in human brain and liver cells (T. Marschall, J. Bornhorst, D. Kuehnelt, K. Francesconi, T. Schwerdtle); Talke with Franck Vanhaecke (left).

– ABC-Prize A: Natalia Ospina-Alvarez (University of Warsaw, Poland) for the following contribution: Solid phase extraction of thallium in plant extracts using modified alumina prior to its ICP-MS and ASV determination (E. Biadun, N. Ospina-Alvarez, B. Krasnodebska-Ostrega); Natalia (left) with Eva Krupp.

– ABC Prize B: Dagmar Urgast (University of Aberdeen, Scotland) for the following contribution: Isotope ratio imaging in biological samples from stable isotope tracer studies – a new way to look into kinetics (D. Urgast, J. Beattie, H. Goenaga-Infante, M. Thiel, J. Feldmann); well Dagmar is in maternity leave….

– ABC Prize C: Juan Soto-Alvaredo (University of Oviedo, Spain) for the following contribution: The use of complementary analytical strategies (HPLC-ICP-MS, FFF-ICP-MS/MS and TEM) to evaluate the behaviour of TiO2 nanoparticles in coastal waters and biological media (J. Soto-Alvaredo, J. Bettmer, A. Sanz-Medel, M. Montes-Bayon, F. Dutschle, D. Pröfrock, A. Prange); Juan with Eva Krupp.

Socially the conference kicked off with a whisky distillery visit and the ice breaker meeting on Sunday. The special metals in the oil & gas industry on Monday was finalized by a get together of delegates from the oil & gas industry and academics with wine & nibbles. On Tuesday all delegates were invited to the Civic Reception by the Lord Provost of the City of Aberdeen in the Town House (see pictures), while at Wednesday evening the delegates were entertained by “Danse McCabre”, a traditional Ceilidh (Scottish Dance) Band, who were able to get almost everybody on the dance floor.


Thursday finished off with an optional excursion to the Scottish countryside and the visit of Crathes Castle. We hope to see everybody back in Scotland again.
Jörg Feldmann, Aberdeen September 2014.