organic acids in aquaculture and fish farmsFish farming is rapidly becoming an alternative way to provide fish to the one billion humans who depend on fish as a source of primary protein. (Read more surprising fish farming facts with great photos at the Huffington Post.) But, like any type of farming, this type of farming too is beset by many challenges and problems one of which is managing the health of farmed fish by monitoring and controlling the balance of organic acids in sea water. Typically, fisheries monitor these organic acids using gas chromatography with derivatization. Therefore, I am so pleased to offer our readers a faster and more direct approach for analysis by using ion chromatographymass spectrometry (IC-MS).

More on the importance of monitoring small organic acids in sea water from the application note itself: “Studies show that low molecular weight species in aquaticenvironments are important sources of carbon for marine bacteria. Short-chain organic acids in the marine environment play important roles in adjusting the pHvalue, forming a variety of complexes and then increasing the solubility of trace metals in sea water. In light of the significant growth in aquaculture for farmed fish and shellfish, several feed additives—including acidifiers consisting of organic acids and their salts—may provide promising alternatives to the use of in-feed antibiotics in aquaculture.”

Application Note 1000, Direct Determination of Small Organic Acids in Sea Water by IC-MS, (downloadable PDF) describes the two-dimensional analysis of the organic acids acetate, formate, propionate, butyrate, pyruvate, and valerate in less than 30 minutes. In this method, the first dimension separated the low-level analytes from the matrix, and the second dimension resolved each of the target analytes. The mass spectrometer was used to confirm the identity and achieve low detection limits for a sensitive and selective assay. Note that no special preparation was required.

This method was developed using our reagent-free IC (RFIC) system (Thermo Scientific Dionex ICS-3000 or ICS-5000 Reagent-Free analytical scale IC (RFIC) system) and our single quadrupole mass spectrometer (Thermo Scientific MSQ Plus).

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The columns used were our anion-exchange column optimimized for environmental applications (Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac AS24 analytical column) and our organic acid anions column (Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac AS11-HC Analytical column).

Also, don’t forget to browse over 60 environmental analytical applications on this blog! Let us know in the Comments box below if you would like to learn about an application not covered in the blog as yet. Our experts will be pleased to consider your request.