Strengthening passive sampling of nonpolar chemicals

October 26, 2017, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)
Passive sampler. Credit: Ian Allan

Passive sampling is a valuable technique for monitoring concentration levels of hydrophobic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the marine environment. New guidelines for the determination of partition coefficients between passive samplers and water have recently become available in new report.

Passive sampling is an alternative to biota-based water quality monitoring (e.g. using mussels or fish), which often suffers from confounding factors (e.g. trophic level, lipid content, season, age, gender, and food availability). These factors play no role in passive sampling. Simple polymers like silicones or low-density polyethylene are used for monitoring of POPs in the accumulate POPs when exposed to water, and the accumulated amounts are used to measure freely dissolved POP concentrations. A successful application of passive sampling requires accurate knowledge of the polymer-water partition coefficients of the monitored POPs.

The TIMES issue, no. 61 provides guidance for the measurement of polymer-water partition coefficients. Considerations for quality assurance and quality control measures are outlined. Guidance is also given for the determination of polymer-polymer partition coefficients, which can be used to harmonize monitoring data that are obtained with different sampler materials.

"Good quality polymer-water partition coefficients are crucial for robust partition-based passive sampling of hydrophobic contaminants in water and sediments," says Ian Allan, senior research scientist at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).

Dr. Allan is one of the authors of the new guidelines, and explains that the guidelines provide the information necessary for the design of laboratory experiments to measure these partition coefficients.

A press release states that these guidelines will be useful for determining polymer-water and polymer-polymer partition coefficients in the best possible way. They can also be used to evaluate the quality of literature values of these partition coefficients. This will further strengthen the scientific basis of passive sampling-based monitoring of POPs in , the release concludes.

Explore further: Caged blue mussels as environmental detectives

More information: Guidelines for determining polymer-water and polymer-polymer partition coefficients of organic compounds. www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publicat … mes61/TIMES%2061.pdf

Related Stories

Caged blue mussels as environmental detectives

October 20, 2017

Two researchers in a boat loaded with thousands of blue mussels, collected from a mussel farm in Lillesand. The boat heads out the Kristiansand fjord, and the researchers deploy the blue mussels in the sea. Why are they doing ...

Systematically studying slippery surfaces

August 22, 2017

Betaines are materials with both a positively charged functional group and a negatively charged functional group linked by an alkyl chain spacer. This combination of functional groups causes betaines to strongly attract water, ...

New water soluble polymer for water resistant coatings

January 12, 2016

A new polymer on the basis of a trick used by mussels has been developed by the Wageningen PhD student Juan Yang. The polymer should be able to let water-based paint flow better and produce water resistant coatings. Yang ...

The role of microplastics in bioaccumulation of POPs

January 21, 2016

The journal Environmental Science & Technology selected the recently published paper on the role of microplastics in bioaccumulation of POPs by northern fulmars, as Editor's Choice. This implies that the paper receives special ...

Recommended for you

What happened before the Big Bang?

March 26, 2019

A team of scientists has proposed a powerful new test for inflation, the theory that the universe dramatically expanded in size in a fleeting fraction of a second right after the Big Bang. Their goal is to give insight into ...

Probiotic bacteria evolve inside mice's GI tracts

March 26, 2019

Probiotics—which are living bacteria taken to promote digestive health—can evolve once inside the body and have the potential to become less effective and sometimes even harmful, according to a new study from Washington ...

Cellular microRNA detection with miRacles

March 26, 2019

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding regulatory RNAs that can repress gene expression post-transcriptionally and are therefore increasingly used as biomarkers of disease. Detecting miRNAs can be arduous and expensive as ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.