Alkalinity of diverse water samples can be altered by mercury preservation and borosilicate vial storage

We compared the effects of preservation and storage methods on total alkalinity (AT) of seawater, estuarine water, freshwater, and groundwater samples stored for 06 months. Water samples, untreated or treated with HgCl2, 0.45 µm filtration, or filtration plus HgCl2, were stored in polypropylene or borosilicate glass vials for 0, 1, or 6 months. Mean AT of samples treated with HgCl2 was reduced by as much as 49.1 µmol kg−1 (1.3%). Borosilicate glass elevated AT, possibly due to dissolving silicates. There was little change in AT of control and filtered samples stored in polypropylene, except for untreated groundwater (~ 4.1% reduction at 6 months). HgCl2 concentrations of 0.02–0.05% reduced the AT of fresh, estuarine, and ground water samples by as much as 35.5 µmol kg−1 after 1 month, but had little effect on the AT of seawater. Adding glucose as a carbon source for microbial growth resulted in no AT changes in 0.45 µm-filtered samples. We suggest water samples intended for AT analyses can be filtered to 0.45 µm, and stored in polypropylene vials at 4 °C for at least 6 months. Borosilicate glassware and HgCl2 can be avoided to prevent analytical uncertainties and reduce risks related to use of Hg2+.

Mos B., Holloway C., Kelaher B. P., Santos I. R. & Dworjanyn S. A., 2021. Alkalinity of diverse water samples can be altered by mercury preservation and borosilicate vial storage. Scientific Reports 11: 9961. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89110-w. Article.


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