Lab-on-chip for in situ analysis of nutrients in the deep sea

Beaton, Alexander D.; Schaap, Allison M. ORCID:; Pascal, Robin; Hanz, Rudolf ORCID:; Martincic, Urska; Cardwell, Christopher L. ORCID:; Morris, Andrew ORCID:; Clinton-Bailey, Geraldine; Saw, Kevin; Hartman, Susan E. ORCID:; Mowlem, Matthew C.. 2022 Lab-on-chip for in situ analysis of nutrients in the deep sea. ACS Sensors, 7 (1). 89-98.

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Microfluidic reagent-based nutrient sensors offer a promising technology to address the global undersampling of ocean chemistry but have so far not been shown to operate in the deep sea (>200 m). We report a new family of miniaturized lab-on-chip (LOC) colorimetric analyzers making in situ nitrate and phosphate measurements from the surface ocean to the deep sea (>4800 m). This new technology gives users a new low-cost, high-performance tool for measuring chemistry in hyperbaric environments. Using a combination of laboratory verification and field-based tests, we demonstrate that the analyzers are capable of in situ measurements during profiling that are comparable to laboratory-based analyses. The sensors feature a novel and efficient inertial-flow mixer that increases the mixing efficiency and reduces the back pressure and flushing time compared to a previously used serpentine mixing channel. Four separate replicate units of the nitrate and phosphate sensor were calibrated in the laboratory and showed an average limit of detection of 0.03 μM for nitrate and 0.016 μM for phosphate. Three on-chip optical absorption cell lengths provide a large linear range (to >750 μM (10.5 mg/L-N) for nitrate and >15 μM (0.47 mg/L-P) for phosphate), making the instruments suitable for typical concentrations in both ocean and freshwater aquatic environments. The LOC systems automatically collected a series of deep-sea nitrate and phosphate profiles in the northeast Atlantic while attached to a conductivity temperature depth (CTD) rosette, and the LOC nitrate sensor was attached to a PROVOR profiling float to conduct automated nitrate profiles in the Mediterranean Sea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: NOC Programmes > Ocean Technology and Engineering
ISSN: 2379-3694
Date made live: 07 Apr 2022 23:15 +0 (UTC)

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