Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 405, Issue 15, pp 5225–5236 | Cite as

Uptake and release kinetics of 22 polar organic chemicals in the Chemcatcher passive sampler

  • Etiënne L. M. VermeirssenEmail author
  • Conrad Dietschweiler
  • Beate I. Escher
  • Jürgen van der Voet
  • Juliane Hollender
Research Paper


The Chemcatcher passive sampler, which uses Empore™ disks as sampling phase, is frequently used to monitor polar organic chemicals in river water and effluents. Uptake kinetics need to be quantified to calculate time-weighted average concentrations from Chemcatcher field deployments. Information on release kinetics is needed if performance reference compounds (PRCs) are used to quantify the influence of environmental conditions on the uptake. In a series of uptake and elimination experiments, we used Empore™ SDB disks (poly(styrenedivinylbenzene) copolymer modified with sulfonic acid groups) as a sampling phase and 22 compounds with a logK ow (octanol–water partitioning coefficient) range from −2.6 to 3.8. Uptake experiments were conducted in river water or tap water and lasted up to 25 days. Only 1 of 22 compounds (sulfamethoxazole) approached equilibrium in the uptake trials. Other compounds showed continuing non-linear uptake, even after 25 days. All compounds could be released from SDB disks, and desorption was proportionally higher in disks loaded for shorter periods. Desorption showed two-phase characteristics, and desorption was proportionally higher for passively sorbed compounds compared to actively loaded compounds (active loading was performed by pulling spiked river water over SDB disks using vacuum). We hypothesise that the two-phase kinetics and better retention of actively loaded compounds—and compounds loaded for a longer period—may be caused by slow diffusion of chemicals within the polymer. As sorption and desorption did not show isotropic kinetics, it is not possible to develop robust PRCs for adsorbent material like SDB disks.


Passive sampling Chemcatcher POCIS Pharmaceuticals Biocides 



The study was funded by SNF project 200021–121738.

Supplementary material

216_2013_6878_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (4.9 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 5052 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Etiënne L. M. Vermeirssen
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Conrad Dietschweiler
    • 1
  • Beate I. Escher
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jürgen van der Voet
    • 1
  • Juliane Hollender
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and TechnologyDübendorfSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant DynamicsETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology (Entox)The University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Oekotoxzentrum, Eawag/EPFLDübendorfSwitzerland

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