Analyser helps to educate tomorrow’s scientists

An AQ1 discrete analyser from SEAL Analytical is being used in Lake Superior State University’s (USA) Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) to analyse local, regional and national water quality samples. In addition, however, the advanced device is enabling students to gain hands-on experience with automated nutrient testing for many common environmental parameters, with detection limits in parts per billion.

Over the summer, the lab supported twelve student-faculty research projects including Professor Derek Wright’s monitoring of the Ashmun Creek and Munuscong watersheds, and laboratory manager Ben Southwell’s work to characterise waters at risk from harmful cyanobacteria blooms.

The lab also conducts contract work for public and private clients and offers paid internships to students looking for experience.

The AQ1, which can used unattended, is designed to perform automated colorimetric tests on multiple samples in discrete reaction vessels.  It is supplied with standard methods to USEPA, ASTM, ISO and other internationally recognised standards for the analysis of parameters including alkalinity, ammonia, chloride, cyanides, nitrate/nitrite, nitrite, phenolics, ortho phosphate, total phosphorus, silicate, sulfate and total Kjeldahl nitrogen.

The device offers interchangeable 60 or 78 position sample trays and easy-to-use software, and users can schedule tests (up to 60 per hour) and specify QC types, limits and corrective actions following a QC failure. It is also possible to add further samples after a test run has begun. Highly accurate analysis is achieved with 100% optical glass no-flow cuvettes and the maximum consumption of combined reagents and sample is 500 – 600 µL per test. Reaction times are user programmable from seconds to minutes. Once the absorbance is read, the cuvette is thoroughly cleaned, eliminating any carryover or cross-contamination.

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