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Research Project Highlight: The advantages of a passive sampling method for the detection of geosmin


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Research Project Highlight: The advantages of a passive sampling method for the detection of geosmin

The Centre for Water Resources Studies (CWRS) is researching a novel passive sampling method for detecting and monitoring geosmin, a taste and odour compound found in drinking water sources. 

The research project is led by Theresa Afi, a Civil Engineering Master’s student at Dalhousie, working with Dr. Crystal Sweeney (postdoctoral researcher) and is supervised by Dr. Graham Gagnon. For her project, Theresa has modified a passive sampling approach that our team previously developed for COVID-19 monitoring in wastewater to detect geosmin. The sampling device is a 3D-printed plastic case with holes that allow water to pass through, entrapping contaminants in an absorbent, Theresa explains. 

“For my project, the materials used for the passive sampling can be easily attained. Preparing the absorbent materials for field deployment is not complicated and can be completed in about 20 minutes for 15 -20 samples,” Theresa says, adding that the simplicity of this method makes it possible for individuals with non-specialized training to deploy and retrieve these samplers.

Utilizing the new passive sampling method, Theresa has been able to successfully measure geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol (2-MIB) in lake water samples in the laboratory under controlled conditions. She and her team have achieved sample recoveries for geosmin and 2-MIB that are very encouraging. 

This research is of particular interest to many of our research partners including Halifax Water, AGAT Laboratories, and CBCL Ltd. By having confidence in our sample methodologies, the team is better placed to develop mitigation techniques in the treatment plant.

“At the CWRS, the number of contaminants we are able to detect using this passive sampling method is growing and I think this is very interesting to our industrial partners,” Theresa says. 

Learn more about this novel method and the ongoing research here.

For updates on the CWRS ongoing research, follow us @waterstudies 

 

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