Spectrophotometric pH analyzer developed for ocean acidification research

A recent study published in Sensors demonstrates the development of a handheld pH instrument named pHyter. The researchers determined the accuracy of pH measurements made using the pHyter compared with desktop spectrophotometric seawater pH measurements and electrochemical sensors.

Study: Measuring Protons with Photons: A Hand-Held, Spectrophotometric pH Analyzer for Ocean Acidification Research, Community Science and Education. Image Credit: Don Pablo/Shutterstock.com

Ocean Acidification

Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels increased from 280 parts per million volume in preindustrial times to 420 parts per million volume in 2022. Oceans contribute significantly to regulating CO2 concentrations through atmospheric uptake. The oceans absorb nearly a third of the anthropogenic carbon released into the atmosphere. This ocean absorption of CO2 results in ocean acidification.

The process of introducing CO2 into the ocean results in the formation of carbonic acid and lowers ocean pH. Ocean acidification (OA) negatively influences the biochemical cycles and modifies chemical equilibria and physiological processes of marine creatures all over the world’s oceans. Wide-ranging pH measurement is challenging because accurate pH measurement equipment is expensive, heavy, and complicated.

Effect of pH Reduction on Ocean Environment

Abrupt pH variations influence the chemical composition of natural water as a governing factor in aqueous chemical equilibrium, potentially impacting crucial physiological processes. The pH decrease in ocean ecosystems substantially affects calcium carbonate saturation, which is a proxy for the capacity of calcifying organisms to form shells and the continuation of carbon sequestration.

Ocean pH is a proxy for biological productivity through the inorganic carbon cycle in natural aquatic systems. It is essential to comprehend and track these environmental changes for research on the health of the marine ecosystem, fisheries, and climate.

Usman Ahmed, Azo Optics, 21 October 2022. Full article.

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