On-line monitoring of enzymatic activities in water and water resources

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On-site detection of enzymatic activities has been suggested as a rapid surrogate for microbiological pollution monitoring of water resources (e.g. using glucuronidases, galactosidases, esterases). Due to the possible short measuring intervals enzymatic methods have high potential as near-real time water quality monitoring tools.

This presentation describes the successful realization and application of a novel concept for automated on-line monitoring of enzymatic activities. During a two years field study at karstic and porous ground water resources the new method proved sensitive and robust for enzymatic on-line determination. In addition the device was tested for surface water monitoring in an agricultural catchment. It is shown that rapid and on-site enzymatic detection can successfully be operated from a technical point of view in diverse catchments.

Selection of the type of measured enzymatic activities has to be done on a catchment-specific basis and further work is needed to learn more about its detailed information characteristics in different habitats. The results of this study highlight that automated on-line monitoring devices for microbial or biochemical parameters to support water quality monitoring is a realistic task. The application of such automated field systems will likely become increasingly important for sustainable and pro-active water management in the near future.

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