Syringe Filtration Methods for Examining Dissolved and Colloidal Trace Element Distributions In Remote Field Locations

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Marine Science


It is well-established that sampling and sample processing can easily introduce contamination into dissolved trace element samples if precautions are not taken. However, work in remote locations sometimes precludes bringing bulky clean lab equipment into the field and likewise may make timely transport of samples to the lab for processing impossible. Straightforward syringe filtration methods are described here for collecting small quantities (15 mL) of 0.45- and 0.02-mum filtered river water in an uncontaminated manner. These filtration methods take advantage of recent advances in analytical capabilities that require only small amounts of water for analysis of a suite of dissolved trace elements. Filter clogging and solute rejection artifacts appear to be minimal, although some adsorption of metals and organics does affect the first approximately 10 mL of water passing through the filters. Over all the methods are clean, easy to use, and provide reproducible representations of the dissolved and colloidal fractions of trace elements in river waters. Furthermore, sample processing materials can be prepared well in advance in a clean lab and transported cleanly and compactly to the field. Application of these methods is illustrated with data from remote locations in the Rocky Mountains and along the Yukon River. Evidence from field flow fractionation suggests that the 0.02-mum filters may provide a practical cutoff to distinguish metals associated with small inorganic and organic complexes from those associated with silicate and oxide colloids.

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Environmental Science & Technology





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