In this paper, a nanosized spongelike Mn3O4 was synthesized and used for the first time as an effective adsorbent for vortex-assisted separation and preconcentration of lead and copper from various food samples. Copper and lead were determined by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. The characterization of the nanosized spongelike Mn3O4 was performed by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, Brunauer, Emmett and Teller surface area and zeta potential measurement. The contact times for both adsorption and elution were only 3 min. Under the optimized conditions, detection limits for copper and lead were found to be 2.6 mu g L-1 and 3.0 mu g L-1, respectively. The relative standard deviations were found to be <= 3.2%. The accuracy of the method was confirmed by analyzing the standard reference materials (BCR-482 Licken and SRM 1573a Tomato Leaves) and spiked real food and herb samples. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.