Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department



Marcus, R. Kenneth


With increasing numbers of health-conscious consumers purchasing nutraceutical supplements, total sales in the nutrition industry have soared to over $200 billion in 2006. It is important to assess the safety of these nutraceutical products, with specific regards to toxic metals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Because species of these metals may be more toxic than others, they can have hazardous health effects if ingested in excess quantities. The work described in this thesis focuses on the development of a sample preparation method for nutraceutical products, specifically ethanolic tinctures and glycerin-based matrices, and analysis of these products by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) for toxic metal content. Botanical standard reference materials (SRMs) of Ephedra sinica stapf and Gingko biloba were analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury to assess the validity of the developed sample preparation method.