Gas-Permeable Membrane-Based Conductivity Probe Capable of In Situ Real-Time Monitoring of Ammonia in Aquatic Environments
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Aquatic ammonia has toxic effects on aquatic life. This work reports a gas-permeable membrane-based conductivity probe (GPMCP) developed for real-time monitoring of ammonia in aquatic environments. The GPMCP innovatively combines a gas-permeable membrane with a boric acid receiving phase to selectively extract ammonia from samples and form ammonium at the inner membrane interface. The rate of the receiving phase conductivity increase is directly proportional to the instantaneous ammonia concentration in the sample, which can be rapidly and sensitively determined by the embedded conductivity detector. A precalibration strategy was developed to eliminate the need for an ongoing calibration. The analytical principle and GPMCP performance were systematically validated. The laboratory results showed that ammonia concentrations ranging from 2 to 50 000 μg L–1 can be detected. The field deployment results demonstrated the GPMCP’s ability to obtain high-resolution continuous ammonia concentration profiles and the absolute average ammonia concentration over a prolonged deployment period. By inputting the temperature and pH data, the ammonium concentration can be simultaneously derived from the corresponding ammonia concentration. The GPMCP embeds a sophisticated analytical principle with the inherent advantages of high selectivity, sensitivity, and accuracy, and it can be used as an effective tool for long-term, large-scale, aquatic-environment assessments.
Environmental Science and Technology
Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified