A review, with 9 refs., is given on trace element anal. by mass spectrometry (MS) and potentiometric stripping anal. (PSA). The key question of the problem is detn. of the structure of the samples (i.e. distribution functions and concns. of atoms, mols., clusters which are presented in the samples). The paper consists of two parts: MS and PSA, as prospective techniques, which have a no. of advantages, including: necessary sensitivity, simultaneous multiple-elements anal., possibility of express-anal. and others. There are many different types of vacuum MS ion sources. where the level of ion fragmentation depends mainly on the type of ionization. From the detail anal. and comparative characteristics the authors have selected an ion source with short-pulse ion desorption from the surface of metals, which meets the most of the requirements. The results of expts., as well as the theor. study, which were carried out in Saint-Petersburg State Tech. University (IPTL) show the outlooks in using of this phenomenon in the constructions of the modern ion sources. However the correct mechanism of the phenomenon is not enough clear. Stripping potentiometry for the detn. of heavy metals is one of the non-vacuum anal. techniques which the easily accessible data power has brought to the fore. The technique is characterized by its ability to provide both qual. and quant. anal. These techniques have a no. of advantages over other voltammetric techniques. Trace metal detn. different samples in water, seawater, beverages and food, whole blood, urine, serum and mother milk with the help of the PSA technique, are only a few of the broad sphere of applications of this anal. technique. [on SciFinder (R)]