The test materials for QUASIMEME's programmes on nutrients (AQ1 and AQ2) have been prepared, tested and are ready for the first round this year starting in April 2022. Each participant will receive test materials of different concentrations which can be analysed on the following determinands: ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, silicate, total-N, total-P, TOxN and Salinity.
The test materials were prepared by the Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), Directorate Natural Environment (OD Nature), Ecochem in Belgium. QUASIMEME will dispatch three test materials for AQ1 and four test materials for AQ2. All determinands are in the scope of accreditation except nitrate as this is a brand-new parameter added to these programmes.
In preparing the test material, low nutrient seawater (LNSW) was collected during the late spring and summer months after the main plankton bloom. Bacteria and particles were removed by filtration, the pH was adjusted to ~7.2, then the seawater was spiked, mixed and dispensed into suitable 250 ml bottles and finally sterilised by autoclaving.
For QUASIMEME Programme AQ1 - Nutrients in Seawater, the LNSW was collected from the Eastern Atlantic. For QUASIMEME Programme AQ2 - Nutrients in Estuarine and Low Salinity Seawater, the LNSW was collected from the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic (diluted).
Homogeneity tests have been performed on each batch of test materials produced. The nutrient test materials are stable for the duration of the test and have been shown to remain stable for several months even after opening if stored appropriately.
If you are interested in joining these proficiency testing programmes organised by QUASIMEME, please fill in the participation form or contact us. It is still possible to join the first round of AQ1 and AQ2, starting in April. We look forward to the results of this first round in 2022.