A fluorometric method developed for measuring low concentrations of ammonium in marine and freshwater ecosystems was adapted for the analysis of ammonia in ambient air. The modified method entails collection of samples on an acid-treated solid adsorbent followed by analysis using a fluorometer. Optimal results were obtained using a commercially available sorbent tube containing 100 mg of acid-treated silica gel for sample collection, and an analytical protocol consisting of sample desorption in DI water, addition of orthopthaldialdehyde (OPA) working reagent, and room temperature incubation. Method accuracy and precision were evaluated by comparing experimentally determined quantities of ammonia to expected levels for sample loadings ranging from 0.16 μg to 550 μg-accuracy was generally within ±20%. The estimated LOQ for the method is 0.08 μg ammonia per sample which represents a 25-375-fold improvement in sensitivity compared to current NIOSH and OSHA methods for the measurement of ammonia in ambient air. The new method should be useful for applications requiring measurement of low concentrations of ammonia using personal sampling equipment or in the characterization of short-term fluctuations of ammonia concentrations in air.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law