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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 6 Issue 3 (2001) pp 157-160

Introducing Field Environmental–Analytical Chemistry in the Quantitative Analysis LaboratoryIntroducing Field Environmental–Analytical Chemistry in the Quantitative Analysis Laboratory

John C. Schaumloffel* and Aidalu Joubert-Castro

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747,, and Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, PR 00681-5456,
Received October 11, 2000. Accepted December 4, 2000

Published online: 30 March 2001

Abstract. Advances in instrumentation and technology now provide the ability to perform many quantitative determinations in the field. Additionally, the potential for sample degradation and analyte decomposition make it necessary to determine certain analytes (e.g., dissolved oxygen) in the field when conducting environmental analyses. Unfortunately, field environmental–analytical chemistry is not a substantial portion of the analytical chemistry curriculum at many institutions. Students in lower-level analytical chemistry courses are often non-chemistry science majors, particularly at institutions with small chemistry departments. We report here on an experiment in which field environmental-analytical chemistry is introduced in the quantitative analysis laboratory. In the context of a water quality assessment of a local river, students determine temperature, pH, ORP, nitrate nitrogen, and ammonia nitrogen at several points in the river. The experimental objective is to determine the potential effects local agricultural practices and treated wastewater discharge may be having on the water composition. The pedagogical objective is to expose these students to the difficulties involved in making analytical determinations in unfamiliar and/or disruptive settings.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; environmental chemistry; analytical chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (249 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Student Laboratory Handout (140 KB) 10.1007/s00897000477b

Issue date: June 1, 2001

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