Wageningen Marine Research is involved in many monitoring projects. These are both directed at environmental research (contaminants in analysed fish depict quality of the water system) as well as food safety related.
- Abiotic monitoring
Wageningen Marine Research samples water, suspended particulate matter and sediment. These matrices can be treated in many ways and analysed for a wired variety of pollutants.
- Biological monitoring
Analyzing organisms in stead of sludge (main compartment responsible for contamination of the water system) has the advantage that biological as well as fysical, chemical conditions are taken into account. For example, high concentrations of a target compound in sludge are sometimes not associated with high accumulation in fish or other organisms, indicating that the target compound has apparently a low bioavailability.
- In active biological monitoring caged organisms are deployed at a specific location. E.g. mussels are hung out for 6 weeks at a location and the accumulation of target compounds in these mussels is then analysed.
- In passive biological monitoring native organisms are locally collected and analysed.
The socalled “passive sampling” is a technique in which an artificial “organism” is deployed at the location of interest. Compounds accumulate in this device by diffusion and a equilibrium between water phase and receptor phase (the passive sampler) may or may not occur. This monitoring is widely applicable under a very wide range of conditions (were biological monitoring may not be feasible) and the results can be differently interpreted. By modifying the characteristics of the sampler, the specificity for specific compounds can be set towards compounds that do not accumulate in organisms (low Log Kow).