Toward Developing A Rapid Field-Testing Device: Regenerable Fujiwara Reagent as a Portable Technology for Measuring Drinking Water Pollution
The goal of this Phase I research project is to establish the feasibility of a regenerable chemical sensor for in situ detection of halogenated hydrocarbons (HHCs) in water. The technology is expected to generate a device for rapid field tests related to spills and accidents. HHCs, such as trichloroethylene (TCE), have been widely used for degreasing operations and as dry cleaning agents. They are among the most frequent contaminants of water, air, and soil across the United States. Both epidemiological and toxicological data implicate HHCs as carcinogens. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated maximum allowable concentration of TCE in drinking water is 5 parts per billion. Fujiwara reaction is the only known reaction for detecting HHCs spectrophotometrically in the visible region. This reaction is irreversible, nonspecific, and it requires a fresh supply of reagent for each measurement. Additionally, liquid pyridine used in the Fujiwara reaction is a toxic, offensive-smelling material. InnoSense, LLC, will develop a chemical sensor for detecting HHCs using a modified Fujiwara reagent. Innovations are proposed to demonstrate reagents that are regenerable and user-friendly. These reagents will enhance performance/cost effectiveness and reduce risk potential to field personnel. Tests are proposed to demonstrate the detection of TCE at the EPA-mandated level.
The approach to be investigated in this project is designed to remove the difficulties encountered by previous researchers in academia and national laboratories using liquid pyridine. The anticipated results at the end of Phase II are expected to have impacts on: (1) handling difficulties, (2) reagent delivery, (3) operational life, and (4) sensitivity and selectivity. The initial product launching will be aimed at rapid field testing needed to respond to spills and accidents. Currently, environmental analysis is expensive because of the costs related to skilled operators, field sampling, and laboratory analysis. At the end of Phase III, a fully engineered, regulator-approved HHC sensor is expected that can perform sample analyses for $10/sample. This sensor will benefit the Nation by characterizing the tens of thousands of solvent-contaminated sites in the United States.
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