Reinsch test

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The Reinsch test is an initial indicator to detect the presence of one or more of the following heavy metals in a biological sample, and is often used by toxicologists where poisoning by such metals is suspected. The method which is sensitive to Antimony, Arsenic, Bismuth, Selenium, Thallium and Mercury was discovered by Hugo Reinsch in 1841.[1]


  • Dissolve suspect body fluid or tissue in a hydrochloric acid solution
  • Insert a copper strip into the solution.
  • The appearance of a silvery coating on the copper may indicate Mercury. A dark coating indicative of the presence of one of the other metals.
  • Confirm finding using absorption or emission spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, or other analytical technique suitable for inorganic analysis.
  • A scientific application of the Reinsch Test was presented in 2010 by chemists of Technische Universität München, Lehrstuhl für Radiochemie (Institute for Radiochemistry, Technical University Munich) and ITU (Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe): in the course of the radiochemical purification of 79Se for the determination of its half-life, reductive deposition of selenium on metallic copper was the first step to extract 79Se from high active raffinate (= PUREX raffinate) in a hot cell.[2][3]

See also[edit]


  • Saferstein R. 2001. Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science. Prentice Hall
  1. ^ Reinsch, H. (1841). "Ueber das Verhalten des metallischen Kupfers zu einigen Metalllösungen". Journal für Praktische Chemie. 24: 244. doi:10.1002/prac.18410240132. 
  2. ^ The half-life of 79Se
  3. ^ Jörg, G., Bühnemann, R., Hollas, S., Kivel, N., Kossert, K., Van Winckel, S., Lierse v. Gostomski, Ch. Applied Radiation and Isotopes 68 (2010), 2339–2351

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