Owlstone Nanotech, Inc.

Monitoring solvent levels in pharmaceutical waste water using a Lonestar portable analyzer - Water and Wastewater - Water Monitoring and Testing

Bacteriological biodegradation is used to treat certain waste water streams however excesses of some solvents will poison the bacteria reducing their efficiency. Consequently there is value in being able to quickly measure concentrations of these critical solvents so they can be pretreated/diluted to protect the bacteria.

It is believed at Owlstone that it is practical to perform a rapid solvent level determination in the waste water background matrix using headspace analysis by Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry (FAIMS). The advantages over other analytical methods are mainly in speed and ease of use. The suitability of a FAIMS based detection for this application is due to a combination of factors, firstly the target analytes and associated volatile background proton affinities are in the right order, high proton affinity for the target analytes and low proton affinity for the background (alcohols, acetates); This means preferential ionization of the target analytes over the background and therefore higher sensitivity to the target analyte (more details on ion affinity are available in appendix A). Secondly the volatility of the target analytes is high enough that a direct headspace of the sample can be taken without any extraction and minimal preparation steps on the waste water (at most a single dilution step e.g. 1ml into 20ml of clean water). Combined this should enable a sample turnaround (time from starting first sample analysis to next sample analysis) of a few minutes.


Test the feasibility of using Lonestar for the detection of the chemicals outlined in Table 1 at the stated alert concentrations in known production samples.