Portable Analyzer for On-Site Determination of Dissolved Organic Carbon-Development and Field Testing

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Oct 23;15(11):2335. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15112335.


Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is a sum parameter that is frequently used in water analytics. Highly resolved and accurate DOC data are necessary, for instance, for water quality monitoring and for the evaluation of the efficiency of treatment processes. The conventional DOC determination methods consist of on-site sampling and subsequent analysis in a stationary device in a laboratory. However, especially in regions where no or only poorly equipped laboratories are available, this method bears the risk of getting erroneous results. For this reason, the objective of the present study was to set up a reliable and portable DOC analyzer for on-site analysis. The presented DOC system is equipped with an electrolysis-based decomposition cell with boron-doped diamond electrodes (BDD) that oxidizes the organic compounds to carbon dioxide. Within this study, the influence of different electrode materials and the composition of the applied electrolytes on the DOC decomposition in an undivided electrolytic cell were systematically investigated. Furthermore, some technical aspects of the portable prototype are discussed. After a detailed validation, the prototype was used in an ongoing monitoring program in Northern India. The limit of detection is 0.1 mg L-1 C with a relative standard deviation of 2.3% in a linear range up to 1000 mg L C-1. The key features of the portable DOC analyzer are: No need for ultra-pure gases, catalysts or burning technology, an analyzing time per sample below 5 min, and a reliable on-site DOC determination.

Keywords: BDD; DOC; electro-oxidation; hydroxyl radicals; in-situ carrier gas; on-site analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon / chemistry
  • Diamond
  • Electrodes
  • Electrolysis
  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • India
  • Limit of Detection
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Water / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water
  • Carbon
  • Diamond