Quality assurance in measuring the elemental composition of the alga Fucus vesiculosus

1999, Journals

Amer, H. A., Ostapczuk, P., and Emons, H.
(1999) Journal Environmental Monitoring 1; 97 - 102.


Algae are increasingly used for the purpose of environmental biomonitoring, for instance in the long-term program of the Federal Environmental Specimen Bank of Germany. Therefore, for the studies presented here, freeze-dried samples of Fucus vesiculosus collected from the North Sea shores were analyzed for a broad range of elements by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), while inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were carried out on digests. The entire analytical procedures, including field sampling, cleaning of material, sample handling, determination of blanks and instrumental parameters, are described. Certified reference materials analyzed in parallel with real samples and intermethod comparisons were used for assuring the accuracy of the analytical data. Reproducibility of INAA measurements was between 4 and 6% depending on the element considered. Possible sources of uncertainty and variation of the contaminant origins are discussed. Boundary conditions for the performance of algae sampling within environmental monitoring programs and the application of this marine bioindicator for the purpose of controlling time-dependent and local differences in element patterns are presented.