Jul 21, 2004

Equilibrium-based sampler for determining Cu2+ concentrations in aquatic ecosystems

Environmental Science & Technology
David B SennJames P Shine


The bioavailability of potentially toxic metals in aquatic systems is frequently related to the dissolved free metal ion (M2+) concentration. However, typical methods used to determine M2+ are labor intensive or require sophisticated equipment. We developed an inexpensive, in situ sampling device--the "gellyfish"--that simplifies Cu2+ determinations in seawater. The gellyfish is a thin disk of polyacrylamide gel embedded with iminodiacetate (Id) groups bound to immobile beads. The sampler operates on the principle that the immobilized Id groups equilibrate with the Cu2+ concentration of the surrounding solution. Cu is then back-extracted into a known volume of 10% HNO3 and measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). In laboratory tests, we varied Cu2+ concentrations between 10(-12) and 10(-8) M and salinity between 5 and 35 ppt. Id-bound Cu (CuId(measured)) did not respond to changes in total Cu. However, CuId(measured) does increase in a predictable manner with increasing Cu2+, and prototype gellyfish precision (average coefficient of variation = 10%) is sufficient to resolve small differences in Cu2+ (+/-30%). Modeled Cu uptake, based on thermodynamic equilibrium speciation of Id within gellyfish, is a ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Laboratory Procedures
Polyacrylamide Gels
Water Pollutants
Acrylic Resins
Inductively-Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry
Environmental Monitoring
Polyacrylamide Hydrogels

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