Determination of organotin compounds in coastal sediment pore-water by diffusive gradients in thin-films (DGT) technique
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
Organotin compounds still present a high risk to biota in the aquatic environment. Measuring the behaviour of the freely dissolved fractions of these compounds in sediment compartments is challenging, with costly and sensitive analytical techniques required for their measurement. Diffusive gradients in thin-films (DGT) allow for the uptake and pre-concentration of analytes in a binding gel and is used to measure dissolved metals and some organic compounds. The utility of novel silica-bound sorbents (C8, C18, mixed phases) as DGT binding gels for the sequestration of organotins in the marine environment was the primary focus of work in this project. The C8 sorbent showed the optimum performance in the uptake and recovery of organotins across pH, ionic strength and in filtered sea water. It was used subsequently as the binding layer in DGT sediment devices (160 mm × 34 mm) overlaid with a mixed-cellulose ester membrane (0.45 μm) as the single diffusion layer. These were used to investigate pore water mobilisation and concentrations of organotins in coastal sediment cores collected from a contaminated site. Organotins demonstrated a non-sustained uptake scenario, with DGT flux and freely dissolved concentrations in pore water measured to decline at 1 cm depth intervals over deployments of 2-28 days. Using time series, concentrations in pore water at t = 0 were calculated providing empirical pore water depletion curves for sediment cores. Using standard laboratory instrumentation (i.e. gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) low limits of detection were achieved (TBT = 0.4 ng L-1 after 2 weeks of sampling).
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