Rapid, non-destructive analysis of calcium and strontium in eggshells by WD-XRF. Academic Article uri icon


  • We developed a simple method of analyzing the strontium (Sr) and calcium (Ca) content of intact eggshell samples in support of a broader study of how dietary Sr uptake impacts waterfowl eggshell quality. We used wavelength dispersive - x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (WD-XRF) to analyze eggshell pieces ranging in size from 6-mm2 fragments to intact half-shells. We verified this approach on a subset of reference shells by subjecting the same region and volume of shell material from which x-ray signals were measured to analysis by inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). An analysis of the sources of analytical uncertainty yielded total internal error estimates of 0.3 and 5% relative for Ca and Sr, respectively, on the basis of which the chemistry of intact shell material analyzed by WD-XRF in this study is compared. The total external errors associated with the WD-XRF results of this study in relation to certified reference material (National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] 1400 [a bone ash]) are 9 and 13.5% relative for Ca and Sr, respectfully (95% CL). Our results demonstrate this method is acceptably accurate and precise for many wildlife management applications. WD-XRF analysis is a quick and inexpensive alternative to traditional methods for determining eggshell Sr and Ca that require acid digestion, allowing for generation of larger datasets that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive, while preserving sample material intact.

published proceedings

  • Chemosphere

altmetric score

  • 3.6

author list (cited authors)

  • liwiski, M. G., Latty, C. J., Spaleta, K. J., Taylor, R. J., & Severin, K. P.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Śliwiński, Maciej G||Latty, Christopher J||Spaleta, Karen J||Taylor, Robert J||Severin, Kenneth P

publication date

  • January 2020