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Book Review Trace Analysis A Structured Approach to Obtaining Reliable Results. Edited by E. Pritchard G. MacKay and U

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Practical Approaches to Analysis, Liquid Crystals, and Alkenes
Trace Analysis: A Structured Approach to Obtaining Reliable Results.
Edited by E. Pritchard, G. MacKay
and U. Points. Royal Society of
Chemistry, London, 1996. XIV, 404
pp., hardcover E 69.50.-ISBN
Within its approximately 400 pages this
book contains a lot of useful practical advice. However, it is essential that the reader should already have a certain amount
of knowledge about the secrets of trace
When I started to read this book for the
first time, I was struck by the abundance
of information on what “trace analysis”
really means. The editors have their
power-play in the first three chapters. In
Chapter 1 the author explains the requirements for a valid and proper trace analysis, including an outline of the possible
and necessary methodologies and their
characteristics. Here I do not agree with
the classification of ICP-MS as a semiquantitative technique for field screening
(p. 27). Also the claim that the journals
Analytical Chemistvy and The Analyst are
all that one needs as a direct route to useful methodology and review articles in
analytical chemistry is not justified. Other
mothers (publishing houses) also have
beautiful daughters (journals) . . .
Chapter 2 is probably the most useful
one in the whole monograph. All the hints
and comments are extremely valuable.
Unfortunately the warning at the bottom
of page 44 about the use of strong acids is
incomplete! Possible artifacts include, for
example, effects of filtration on the concentration of PAKs in water. Likely
sources of contamination during sample
pretreatment are also identified.
written by invitdtionfiom the editor Suggestions
for books to be reviewed and for book reviewers
are welcome Publishers should send brochures or
(better) books to the sditorial office: Redaktion
Annewandte Chemle, postfach lol 61. D.6y451
Weinheim, Germany. The editor reserves the right
ofselectlng which books will be reviewed. Uninvi*ed books not chosen for review will not be re[turied.
Anww Chem Inr Ed Engl 1997.36, No 18
Chapter 3 overlaps to some extent with
Chapter 2, since sample preparation is
again the topic. All the various digestion
techniques are discussed in great detail.
Unfortunately, the following chapters
provide only a superficial treatment of the
subject. Chapter 4 deals with the determination of inorganic analytes, after the
sample has undergone the necessary
preparation steps. The most popular techniques are presented in a very general
way. Here some concrete examples would
have been useful. Some modern techniques such as laser-excited spectroscopy
or the very successful method of total reflection X-ray fluorescence analysis are
not covered. In contrast, a separate section (4.3) is entirely devoted to elemental
mass spectrometry with all the known
variants. On the other hand, Section 4.4,
on ion chromatography, is again at a trivial level. The references given for this topic
d o not reflect the state of the art.
Chapter 5 (“Organic Analytes: Sample
Preparation”) covers more or less all the
important treatment techniques, but is
again not very up-to-date. Emerging
methods such as solid phase extraction
techniques (SPME) or immunoaffinity
columns are not discussed. Here it becomes apparent that the authors’ view of
organic trace analysis is limited to the
more conventional and well-established
This is also seen in Chapter 6 (“Organic
Analytes: Determination”). Recently developed techniques such as GC-AED or
HPTLC-AMD are not treated. The resolution of MS techniques is given in
“plates” (see Table 6.5.3)-why? A typical example, such as dioxin analysis,
would have given a much better insight
into the use of the various methods, especially for congener analysis (a subject that
does not exist in this book!). On the other
hand some practical matters, such as the
safety aspects of MS, are discussed in
more detail than is necessary.
The very important topic “Analysis of
Speciated Elements” is treated briefly in
Chapter 7, unfortunately without relating
it to what has been discussed in the previous chapters. Some very general remarks
are offered, for example that HPLC and
GC are relatively inexpensive (Table
Verlag GmbH, D-69451 Weinhelm. 1997
7.3.1). Here, a great chance to discuss exciting developments in trace analysis is
Chapter 8 is intended to bridge the gap
between organic and inorganic trace analysis (if indeed there is one). Spectrophotometry is introduced at a student level. Colorimetric procedures are certainly not
state-of-the-art. Luminescence is treated
without introducing the advantages of
time resolution. Electrochemical detection is briefly mentioned.
Chapter 8.3 treats a more modern subject, bioanalytical techniques. Enzymatic
reactions, immunoassays, and PCR techniques as tools for trace analysis are discussed, and some relatively recent literature is cited.
Chapter 9 (“From Signal Processing to
Reporting”) is completely unnecessary.
Here the reader is introduced to the formula for the standard deviation . . .
The strengths of this monograph lie in
the discussions of sample treatment and
possible artifacts, but there are serious
weaknesses in the description of the separation and detection techniques. Modern
times have touched this book only slightly. It’s a pity.
Reinhard Niessner
Institut fur Wasserchemie
und Chemische Balneologie
der Technischen Universitat Munchen
Introduction to Liquid Crystals.
Chemistry and Physics. By P. J:
Collings and M . Hird. Taylor & Francis, London, 1997. 298 pp., paperback E 15.95.-ISBN 0-7484-0483-X
Over a century has passed since the discovery of liquid crystals in 1988. During
that time liquid crystals have developed
from just a scientific curiosity to become a
very active mterdisciulinarv field of research with many technological applications. However, although there are a large
number of specialized, mainly physicsoriented, monographs on the subject,
there are few introductory textbooks. The
interdisciplinary nature of the field is an
obstacle here, as its study requires some
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