On-site way to detect certain alkyl substances

Faster, on-site way to detect certain alkyl substances

A new and simpler on-site technique to instantly and accurately detect and measure levels of PFAS was developed by Curtin University. PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) are persistent environmental pollutants often found around the industrialized area – contaminated land as well as water bodies.

PFAS are potentially harmful chemical materials that were utilized for a long time in various commercial and also commercial applications, including in firefighting foams, some non-stick cookware, different paper, and packaging product, and stain and water-resistant coatings on the carpet as well as cloths, explained Professor Damien Arrigan, School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University.

Professor Arrigan said that these materials have contaminated groundwater and soil around the world due to their extensive use. These materials are usually described as ‘forever chemicals, due to the fact that they do not break down or degrade in the native environment.

He further added that minimizing or removing the chemicals from the environment  – making early detection is the only means to stop them from entering the food chain.

Generally, to check if a site or water body is contaminated with PFAS materials, soil or water samples from the site have to be taken to a lab for chemical analysis, which may take a number of days for the results to come.

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The process was improved, by Curtin research, in collaboration with Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, and they utilized on-site chemical sensors that permits an instantaneous contamination examination that instantly indicates which water samples need to be collected for further analysis.

Professor Arrigan said that to push ionized PFAS across an oil-water interface, the developed chemical sensors use electrodes, and the electric properties of the interface is altered by this procedure and provide an electrical current that informs us about the concentration of the chemicals.

This approach enables us to not only find the presence of perfluorooctane sulfonate, one of the most extensively used PFAS but additionally measure it at extremely low concentration levels. According to the initial outcomes, it is possible to promptly identify very small concentrations of PFAS substances in waters with this new method, without the requirement to send the samples to the lab for preliminary evaluation.

He added that with proper development into an extra portable, durable technology, this technique might potentially be utilized to check PFAS concentration in water and soils and obtain results within minutes, as opposed to days by industry and government firms, as well as the public.

The outcomes of the study were published in the journal Analyst.

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Faster, on-site way to detect certain alkyl substances

Author: Sruthi S

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