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Journal of Automatic Chemistry
Volume 17 (1995), Issue 6, Pages 205-212

Automation of flow injection gas diffusion-ion chromatography for the nanomolar determination of methylamines and ammonia in seawater and atmospheric samples

1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, West Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
2University of East Anglia, University Plain, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
3Marine Biological Association, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, UK

Copyright © 1995 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The automation and improved design and performance of Flow Injection Gas Diffusion-Ion Chromatography (FIGD-IC), a novel technique for the simultaneous analysis of trace ammonia (NH3) and methylamines (MAs) in aqueous media, is presented. Automated Flow Injection Gas Diffusion (FIGD) promotes the selective transmembrane diffusion of MAs and NH3 from aqueous sample under strongly alkaline (pH > 12, NaOH), chelated (EDTA) conditions into a recycled acidic acceptor stream. The acceptor is then injected onto an ion chromatograph where NH3 and the MAs are fully resolved as their cations and detected conductimetrically. A versatile PC interfaced control unit and data capture unit (DCU) are employed in series to direct the selonoid valve switching sequence, IC operation and collection of data. Automation, together with other modifications improved both linearily (R2 > 0.99 MAs 0-100 nM, NH3 0-1000 nM) and precision (<8%) of FIGD-IC at nanomolar concentrations, compared with the manual procedure. The system was successfully applied to the determination of MAs and NH3 in seawater and in trapped particulate and gaseous atmospheric samples during an oceanographic research cruise.