Environmental analytical methods

Effects of sterilization treatments on the analysis of TOC in water samples

Yiming Shi , Lingfeng Xu , Dongqin Gong , Jun Lu


Received July 09, 2009,Revised November 10, 2009, Accepted , Available online

Volume 22,2010,Pages 789-795

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Decomposition experiments conducted with and without microbial processes are commonly used to study the e ects of environmental microorganisms on the degradation of organic pollutants. However, the e ects of biological pretreatment (sterilization) on organic matter often have a negative impact on such experiments. Based on the principle of water total organic carbon (TOC) analysis, the e ects of physical sterilization treatments on determination of TOC and other water quality parameters were investigated. The results revealed that two conventional physical sterilization treatments, autoclaving and 60Co -radiation sterilization, led to the direct decomposition of some organic pollutants, resulting in remarkable errors in the analysis of TOC in water samples. Furthermore, the extent of the errors varied with the intensity and the duration of sterilization treatments. Accordingly, a novel sterilization method for water samples, 0.45 m micro-filtration coupled with ultraviolet radiation (MCUR), was developed in the present study. The results indicated that the MCUR method was capable of exerting a high bactericidal e ect on the water sample while significantly decreasing the negative impact on the analysis of TOC and other water quality parameters. Before and after sterilization treatments, the relative errors of TOC determination could be controlled to lower than 3% for water samples with di erent categories and concentrations of organic pollutants by using MCUR.

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