After the serious spills on the upper catchment area of the Tisza river system an intensive investigation of the water quality was introduced. During this, the concentrations of various trace elements were determined among the Hungarian sections of the Tisza and Szamos rivers. To determine the uptake into the trophic chain the biofilms were investigated, too. This research project was extended to a bilateral partnership with the UFZ-Centre of Environmental Research, Department of Inland Water Research Magde burg. It was concluded that the Szamos was significantly stronger polluted than the lower course of the Tisza.
In framework of a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, started in June 2002, microanalytical methods based on the total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (TXRF) were developed for elemental analysis of biofilms and single zooplankton specimens. To understand the element flows in the whole aquatic ecosystem complex investigations are necessary. These consist of not only trace element analysis, but also of the determination of main elements (e.g. carbon, nitrogen, phosphor, sulphur), compounds (e.g. saccharides, peptides), and biological composition. These can be carried out only in co-operation of chemists and biologists. The complex investigation of the chemical composition of aquatic biota cannot be investigated with conventional TXRF spectrometers equipped with molybdenum or tungsten X-ray sources and air filled beam pathways.
The measurement of the light main elements can be carried out only with, "softer" radiation sources (e.g. Cr-Ka), new sensitive detectors and evacuated airless beam pathways. Other possibility is the use of the inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). This later has very low determination limits and - in high resolution (HR) mode - is quite free of spectral interferences allowing high-performance analyses.
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