As mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, I have been impressed and amazed by the range of applications for the Ion Chromatography technique, and, when this cloud chemistry study using both our instruments and analytical columns came across my desk, I knew I had to share it with our blog readers.
For those not completely familiar with cloud chemistry, as per the publication Handbook of Weather, Climate, and Water (link to PDF), cloud chemistry can be considered “to comprise both cloud composition and reactions that take place in clouds. Clouds are a very special subset of the atmosphere because they present substantial amounts of condensed-phase water (liquid or solid) that can dissolve gases that would otherwise be present in the gas phase, and, as a consequence of condensed-phase reactions, permit reactions to occur that would not otherwise occur or would be much slower. In this sense clouds may be considered to serve as catalysts of atmospheric reactions.”
The research presented in the article, Potential impact of microbial activity on the oxidant capacity and organic carbon budget in clouds,(link to abstract; only the abstract is free), was jointly conducted by researchers from the following French institutions: Institut de Chimie de Clermont-Ferrand, Observatoire de Physique du Globe de Clermont-Ferrand, Laboratoire de Météorologie Physique, Clermont Université, and Université Blaise Pascal.
Note that the supplemental information (link to PDF) is free.
The researchers studied the microbial activity and chemical interactions between the microorganisms and cloud water in three types of cloud samples from the puy de Dôme mountain in France: marine, continental, and urban. The researchers found that the microorganisms biodegraded the carbon compounds in the cloud water leading the researchers to draw the conclusion that “microorganisms could play a double role in atmospheric chemistry; first, they could directly metabolize organic carbon species, and second, they could reduce the available source of radicals through their oxidative metabolism. Consequently, molecules such as H2O2 would no longer be available for photochemical or other chemical reactions, which would decrease the cloud oxidant capacity.”
The researchers used one of our earlier Ion Chromatography system (Thermo Scientific Dionex DX-320 system) and one of our anion-exchange analytical columns (Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac AS11 Hydroxide-Selective Anion-Exchange column) for theanion analysis. For the cation analysis, the researchers used one of our mid-level Ion Chromatography systems (Thermo Scientific Dionex ICS 1500 system) and one of our cation-exchange analytical columns (Thermo Scientific Dionex IonPac CS16 Cation-Exchange column) for the cation analysis.
By the way, you might also be interested some of the analytical applications featured on our air analysis page on our website.
Let us know in the Comments box below if you have come across any similar interesting applications: we look forward to hearing from you.