The method developed in this work for the separation and preconcentration of Cr(III) is based on its retention by an Amberlite XAD-2 copolymer resin functionalized with 5-palmitoyl-8-hydroxyquinoline (oxine), abbreviated XAD-POx, with the ligand covalently bound to the copolymer. Cr(III) sorption was quantitative within the pH range 4.5-7.0 and Cr(VI) was not retained. The Cr(III) held by the resin column was eluted with a hot solution of H(2)O(2) in pH>or=9.0 aqueous NH(3)-NH(4)Cl buffer, and Cr oxidized to CrO(4)(2-) was rejected by the chelating cation-exchanger column. Any Cr(VI) originally present with Cr(III) could be reduced with an acidic solution of H(2)O(2), and retained by the column yielding total Cr results, Cr(VI) being determined from the difference. The resin showed a maximal preconcentration factor of 60 for Cr(III), the LOD and LOQ being 9.3 and 30.1 nmol L(-1), respectively. The developed preconcentration-speciation analysis was finished with a diphenylcarbazide (DPC) spectrophotometric procedure suitable for conventional laboratories. The resin showed excellent salt tolerance, enabling Cr analysis in seawater, and was stable over extended use. All the interferents of this procedure that normally occur in an electroplating effluent, a blended coal CRM, and a standard steel sample could be removed by the recommended procedure, by use of partial and total selectivity at the adsorption and desorption stages, respectively, enabling preconcentration and colorimetric determination of chromium in various complex matrices.