Complex expertise within a matter of minutes

Complex expertise within a matter of minutes
05.10.2011

There are several scientific centers in Russia that are tasked with the development of modern approaches to water and soil analysis for ecotoxicants. One of them is shared scientific equipment center “Arktika” located in Arkhangelsk.

Here, jointly with their colleagues from Department of Chemistry at Moscow State university, NArFU scientists are closely studying the process of dimethylhydrazine-based rocket fuel (or heptyl – author’s remark) decaying into products that may actually appear even more toxic than heptyl.

Arkhangelsk and Moscow scientists have already been cooperating in this research for several years. Today, the qualitative analysis of complex structural organic matter is carried out with the use of liquid chromatograph andDionex-manufactured tandem mass spectrometric detector. Such system enables an examination with very high degree of confidence and minimum substance concentrations. There are only several devices of such kind available in Russia.

‘We’ve been cooperating with NArFU for a very long time, and the fact that a sophisticated liquid chromatograph is available in Arkhangelsk greatly facilitates our common tasks,’ explains MSU research officer Igor Rodin.

Scientists are trying to simulate conditions for heptyl transformation and study its decomposition products. The obtained results will then be extrapolated onto real samples to identify the type of pollutants. Extrapolation competed, it will be possible to assess the pollutants’ toxicity level and to forecast the environmental damage to the impact area.

‘The ion chromatograph ICS-5000, also produced by the world’s leader Dionex, is designed to determine concentrations of heptyl and its derivatives in natural waters and soil extracts. ICS-5000 is considered to be one of the world’s bests,’ Nikolay Ulyanovsky, junior research assistant at SEC SA Arktika’s liquid chromatography laboratory, comments the device.

Scientists from MSU, who applied this cutting edge system in their research in Kazakhstan, discovered 13 new substances in the local sandy soils. ‘Here in the north, where duplex soils are abundant, heptyl transformation products occur in larger quantities,’ assumes Nikolay Ulyanovsky.

The new equipment allows detecting lowestconcentrations in the substance composition. This ion chromatograph can also be used in testing the manufacturer-specified concentrations of calcium or any other substance in mineral water.

Scientists also make use of Shimadzu highspeed chromatograph – a sophisticated device capable of decomposing a sample into 30 or more substances in 2-5 minutes only. For comparison, it took previous models 20-30 minutes to do the chromatography.

Text by Anna Yedemskaya
Translated by Olga Beznaeva

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