Development of Nitrate and Total Ammonia Testing Procedures at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monitoring of nitrogen species is critical to proper maintenance of aquatic life support systems. Adopting or changing analytical procedures requires numerous considerations including, costs, difficulty, chemical hazards and disposal, detection limits, and how results from both methods compare side-by-side. Nitrogen testing procedures in use at Monterey Bay Aquarium facilities include a multi-wavelength UV nitrate method and a modified ammonia salicylate method. They were developed for use at both our main facility where an Agilent HP8453 UV/Vis spectrophotometer is used and at our offsite Animal Research and Care Center where a Hach DR 5000 UV/Vis spectrophotometer is used. The nitrate procedure is a multi-wavelength UV procedure that does not require any sample modification. To aid in calculations the multiwavelength data generated during the nitrate analysis should be sent directly to a computer or captured by a USB memory stick. The total ammonia procedure was modified from the Hach Company’s total ammonia salicylate procedure by the addition of another reagent to allow it to work in natural seawater with a low detection limit.
Green Chemistry in the Water
Karen Tuttle Stearns,
Aquarium of the Pacific
“Going Green”, or sustainable practices, are becoming increasingly understood and adopted by both general society and industry. Water quality laboratories supporting zoos and aquariums should strive for sustainability best practice; leading by example and directly aiding the preservation of the animals within their care and the habitats represented by their displays. Environmental responsibility in the laboratory can be achieved through the application of 12 principles of green chemistry, including: purchasing environmentally friendly chemicals and products, reducing and eliminating hazardous waste, using energy efficient practices and equipment, conserving reverse osmosis and deionized water, selecting greener alternative testing methods, and recycling and reusing laboratory supplies. The benefits of these sustainable measures include cost savings, reduced health risks to personnel, and a clean ecological conscience, all the while achieving the highest possible level of animal care.