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  • Author or Editor: E. De Nadai Fernandes x
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Abstract  

Metrology systems are being established by various countries for the worldwide comparability of data related to trade, industrial products, health, and the environment. This has in turn led to an increased interest in methods that have the highest possible accuracy and precision. The relevance of instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) for metrological science has been evaluated. It is concluded that INAA is a suitable technique for method validation, proficiency testing, development of reference materials and reference methods. Moreover, it is concluded that INAA may comply with the CCQM definition of a definitive or primary ratio method provided that the uncertainty in the results is reduced to much lower levels compared to those currently encountered in most NAA laboratories.

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Abstract  

High-uranium phosphate rock from Itataia, Brazil, was milled for wet-process phosphoric acid production using the dihydrate method. Uranium contained in the phosphoric acid was recovered by solvent extraction. The distribution of long-lived natural radionuclides of the 238U and 232Th decay series involved in these operations was evaluated. 226Ra, 228Ra and 210Pb were found to predominate in the phosphogypsum, while 228Th, 230Th and 232Th in the uranium-free phosphoric acid. Thorium is removed from the phosphoric acid by solvent extraction to produce a NORM-free phosphoric acid.

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Abstract  

The accumulation of chemical elements in biological compartments is one of the strategies of tropical species to adapt to a low-nutrient soil. This study focuses on the Atlantic Forest because of its eco-environmental importance as a natural reservoir of chemical elements. About 20 elements were determined by INAA in leaf, soil, litter and epiphyte compartments. There was no seasonality for chemical element concentrations in leaves, which probably indicated the maintainance of chemical elements in this compartment. Considering the estimated quantities, past deforestation events could have released large amounts of chemical elements to the environment.

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Abstract  

Over the last decades the acceleration of the industrialization and urbanization processes together with the intensive agricultural practices have resulted in an impact on the Piracicaba river basin, state of São Paulo, Brazil. The source rivers drain from an area of low population density, absence of heavy industries, non-significant agriculture, native forest and reforestation, the opposite is found in the middle part of the basin. Samples of riverbed sediments were collected along the basin for chemical analysis. Results showed that the source rivers still preserve their natural characteristics, while the Atibaia river in the middle part shows signs of pollution from the agricultural activity, industrial effluents and urban sewage.

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Abstract  

A Ni-Cr alloy was chosen as an in-house reference material for neutron flux measurement due to the well-known physical constants of the nuclides or interest and its low cost. The quantification of the Cr and Ni content was performed by neutron activation analysis (NAA), using certified reference materials from NIST as comparators. The concertrations and standard combined uncertainties were 19.32 ± 0.07 % for Cr and 80.2 ± 1.1 % for Ni, and the material is very homogeneous for Cr and moderate homogeneous for Ni.

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Abstract  

Aiming at the determination of toxic and essential elements in Brazilian commercial bovine milk, 25 ultra high temperature (UHT) milk samples were acquired in the local market of Piracicaba, SP. The samples were freeze-dried and analyzed by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) allowing the determination of Br, Ca, Co, Cs, Fe, K, Na, Rb and Zn. When the results were expressed as concentration (mg·l−1) no significant differences were found. However, considering the dry matter, results showed a clear difference between the mass fractions (mg·kg−1 d.w.) of skim milk and whole milk for the elements Br, Ca, K, Na, Rb and Zn, indicating that the removal of fat caused a concentration effect in the dry matter of skim milks. Discrepancies were found between the concentrations of Ca and Na measured by INAA and the values informed in the labels. Ca showed variations within 30% for most samples, while concentrations of Na were up to 190% higher than informed values. The sample preparation and the INAA procedure were appropriate for the determination of Br, Ca, Co, Cs, Fe, K, Na, Rb and Zn in milk samples.

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Summary  

A random sampling was carried out in the coffee beans collected for the preparation of the organic green coffee reference material in view of assessing the homogeneity and the presence of soil as impurity. Fifteen samples were taken for the between-sample homogeneity evaluation. One of the samples was selected and 10 test portions withdrawn for the within-sample homogeneity evaluation. Br, Ca, Co, Cs, Fe, K, Na, Rb, Sc and Zn were determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). The F-test demonstrated that the material is homogeneous for Ca, Co, Cs, K and Sc, but not homogeneous for Br, Fe, Na, Rb and Zn. Results of terrigenous elements suggested negligible soil contamination in the raw material.

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Abstract  

Soil as an impurity in sugarcane is a serious problem for the ethanol industry, increasing production and maintenance costs and reducing the productivity. Fe, Hf, Sc and Th determined by INAA were used as tracers to assess the amount of soil in sugarcane from truckloads as well as in the juice extraction process. Quality control tools were applied to results identifying the need for stratification according to soil type and moisture. Soil levels of truckloads had high variability indicating potential for improving cut and loading operations. Samples from the juice extraction process allowed tracking the soil in the mill tandem.

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Abstract  

This study investigated the representativeness of samples for assessing chemical elements in milk bulk tanks. Milk samples were collected from a closed tank in a dairy plant and from an open top tank in a dairy farm. Samples were analyzed for chemical elements by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). For both experiments, Br, Ca, Cs, K, Na, Rb and Zn did not present significant differences between samples thereby indicating the appropriateness of the sampling procedure adopted to evaluate the analytes of interest.

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Abstract  

The degree of homogeneity is normally assessed by the variability of the results of independent analyses of several (e.g., 15) normal-scale replicates. Large sample instrumental neutron activation analysis (LS-INAA) with a collimated Ge detector allows inspecting the degree of homogeneity of the initial batch material, using a kilogram-size sample. The test is based on the spatial distributions of induced radioactivity. Such test was applied to samples of Brazilian whole (green) coffee beans (Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora) of approximately 1 kg in the frame of development of a coffee reference material. Results indicated that the material do not contain significant element composition inhomogeneities between batches of approximately 30–50 g, masses typically forming the starting base of a reference material.

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