Marine Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 2, pp 113–118 | Cite as

Analysis of volatile fatty acids by ion-exclusion chromatography, with special reference to marine pore water

  • R. J. Parkes
  • J. Taylor


A method for measuring volatile fatty acids using ion-exclusion chromatography is presented. The system was found to be applicable to samples with high salt concentrations (e.g. seawater and marine pore water) when coupled with a vacuum distillation procedure. The method is straightforward, with no sample preconcentration and no introduction of external contamination. Calibration was found to be linear, with good reproducibility (coefficient of variation normally less than 5%) and the system was sufficiently sensitive to operate at the sub-ppm level (minimum detection limit for acetate and propionate was approximately 0.02 and 0.05 ppm, respectively). This technique was used to investigate the distribution of volatile fatty acids with sediment depth at Station E70 in Loch Eil, Scotland (sample was collected in March, 1983) and the results were in good agreement with recent publications. Although the system, at present, is limited in marine pore water to acetate and propionate, it has certain advantages over alternative systems and these are described.


Acetate Propionate Detection Limit Salt Concentration Special Reference 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Parkes
    • 1
  • J. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Dunstaffnage Marine Research LaboratoryScottish Marine Biological AssociationObanScotland

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