Possible starting date: From mid September 2021
Among the wide range of anthropogenic substances found in the environment there are potentially harmful, very polar and ionic substances which are mobile in aquatic systems. These substances include industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and plant protection products. Additionally, transformation products (TP’-s) of these compounds are found in aqueous environmental samples. TP’‑s are often times more polar than their parent molecules and thus are more mobile in the aqueous environment. The discussion around very polar and ionic compounds intensified in the last few years and hence, adequate analytical techniques to cover such compounds are needed. By using e.g. traditional reversed-phase liquid chromatography, we often fail to detect very polar and ionic compounds (i.e. gap compounds).
In this study, we want to focus on very polar and ANionic pesticides and their very polar and anionic TP’s. We aim to develop an ion-chromatographic method to close the “analytical gap” and screen for these compounds in environmental samples. Establishing this method in our institute enables us to study very polar and anionic compounds in many different fields of water research. In a first application, we want to use this method in the analysis of temporally highly resolved karst groundwater samples from the Swiss Jura to study the pollutant dynamics of very polar and anionic pesticides in such vulnerable aquatic systems. Our preliminary results on nitrate and previous studies in the literature indicate that negatively charged ions are very mobile in karstic groundwater. This could also hold true for very polar and anionic pesticides and their very polar and anionic TP’s.
The student will gain skills in working with analytical techniques in general and in particular ion-chromatography (IC). More specifically, the student will:
Optimize the IC-method such that: a) low LOQ’s are reached for a broad spectrum of substances, b) ion-suppression through inorganic salt-ions is reduced, c) chromatographic run-times are improved
Use this method to analyze temporally highly resolved samples taken in a karstic spring after a rain event.
Supervised by Johannes Schorr, Prof. Dr. Juliane Hollender.
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