Analytical Devices for Autonomous Monitoring of the Environment

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Resource or Project Abstract

The project "Analytical Devices for Autonomous Monitoring of the Environment" was organised into three sub-projects: 1 Development of an autonomous phosphate analyser for measuring nutrient levels in rivers, lakes and coastal regions. 2 Development of a light-emitting diode (LED)-based instrument for colorimetric measurement of lightmodulated photoswitchable polymeric films. 3 Development of methods for qualifying the elemental (mainly heavy metal) content of soils and dust samples. A portable system for the long-term monitoring of phosphate was developed. This completely autonomous device incorporates sampling, reagent and waste storage, colorimetric detection, wireless communication, and a power supply into a complete, miniaturised system. The integration of a wireless communication device allows acquisition parameters to be controlled remotely and adjusted according to individual needs. In addition, wireless communication capabilities allow the results to be downloaded remotely and displayed in real time. The autonomous capabilities of the system - combined with the portability and wireless communication - provide the flexibility needed for on-site phosphate monitoring. This system demonstrates the potential of truly autonomous microfluidic platforms for use in long-term environmental monitoring.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr. Tanja Radu
Dublin City University

Prof. Dermot Diamond
Dublin City University

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Data, Files, Information Objects Related To This Project Resource

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att: 1    STRIVE_36_AutonomousMonitoring_Summary_Findings.pdf  (0.25 Mb)
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_36_Radu_AutonomousMonitoring_prn.pdf  (2.43 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_36_Radu_AutonomousMonitoring_web.pdf  (1.78 Mb)

Suggested Citation Information

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Author(s)Radu, T. Diamond, D.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationAnalytical Devices for Autonomous Monitoring of the Environment
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifierfe387dce-8df3-102d-ba42-8e912b2741d0
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-06-24

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Radu, T. Diamond, D.   "Analytical Devices for Autonomous Monitoring of the Environment". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-06-24)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource Keywordsautonomous phosphate analyser light-emitting diode LED heavy metal soils ion electrodes
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeEnvironmental Technologies
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceThere is no data attached to this resource. However further usage of the reports in any significant way should be properly cited or acknowledged in any further publications. A citation is provided below.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 3
Project Start Date Saturday 1st May 2004 (01-05-2004)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Sunday 26th March 2006 (26-03-2006)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 31st March 2010 (31-03-2010)
Published on SAFERWednesday 31st March 2010 (31-03-2010)
Date of Last EditWednesday 31st March 2010 at 10:06:16 (31-03-2010)
Datasets or Files Updated On Wednesday 31st March 2010 at 10:06:16 (31-03-2010)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
A field trial of the phosphate sensor was carried out in the Towns river, Co. Offaly, Ireland during a 36-h period between 27 and 29 March, 2006. Due to a decrease in the reaction time caused by the cold environment, it was necessary to increase the time between measurements to 45 min. The final concentration was calculated from the average of two consecutive measurements. On-site calibration was possible by alternating measurements of phosphate in the river with 0 and 5 mg/L P-PO4 3- standards brought to the field. During the river measurements, the sensor was submerged in the water and the base station left on the nearby bank. Data were downloaded remotely to a laptop computer using the base station?s GSM modem. During the field trial, three water samples were collected for analysis back in the laboratory. After collection, each sample was immediately filtered with the polyethersulfone membrane filter, stored in an acid-washed sample bottle, and frozen within 30 min of collection. In the laboratory, aliquots of each thawed sample were mixed with the yellow reagent and the absorbance of the solution was measured in a bench-top spectrophotometer. Seventeen soil samples were collected in the area of North Tipperary, Ireland, including the village of Silvermines and abandoned mining sites. Sampling locations were chosen based on the pollution maps published by the Expert Group (Office of Environmental Enforcement, 2004). Sampling locations included the Gortmore Tailing and Mining Facilities (TMF) Silvermines village and the surrounding area. The areas of Gortmore TMF and Ballygowan (south of village Silvermines) were identified as pollution hotspots in the Final Report of the Expert Group for Silvermines County, Tipperary (Office of Environmental Enforcement, 2004). Soil samples were collected, stored in polyethylene bags and kept on ice until brought to the laboratory.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The results of the light emitting diode (LED) research show that it is possible to use low-power LED light sources to detect colour changes arising at different regions of the visible spectrum, and to control the state of surfaces functionalised with photoswitchable molecules. In the future, such capabilities could be vital for the realisation of surfaces whose binding characteristics can be controlled using light, which could greatly extend the useable lifetime of sensing surfaces exposed to hostile samples i.e. switch between active (measuring) and passive states. The long history of mining activities in the Silvermines area of Co. Tipperary, Ireland, has left behind highly polluted soil. This soil poses a constant threat to local communities, due to the possibility of pollution spreading to the surrounding areas. Results of the AAS analysis presented in this research confirm high soil pollution in the area. Even though the AAS technology is widely recognised and very precise, it is very expensive, laborious and slow. Since the Silvermines area is under a constant risk, there is a need for a fast and reliable analytical methodology that can be fast, low cost and performed in field conditions.
Supplementary Information
A full list of project participants are available in the PDF report which is attached to this metadata resource.
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