Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants, and it’s vital for photosynthesis. Measuring the chlorophyll concentration in water is important to estimate the abundance of phytoplankton. If a high level of chlorophyll is detected, it is an indication that a high level of phytoplankton is present in the water.
Aquaread’s chlorophyll sensor is constructed from dense ABS/POM plastics and aluminium. It features robust sapphire lenses for the highest optical performance and scratch resistance.
It is a fixed response fluorometer, meaning it excites the chlorophyll in the water at a fixed wavelength (470nm) and then measures the subsequent emitted fluorescence (>630nm).
Our Chlorophyll sensors can be installed into many of our probes, below are some examples. To see all of the probes that can house the chlorophyll sensor please visit the Products section.
Installing the Chlorophyll sensor into an Aquaprobe is a straightforward process. First, unscrew the blanking plug from an appropriate aux socket. Then apply some of the provided silicon grease to the sensor thread and screw in the sensor. After installation, full calibration is required.
Part of our ethos at Aquaread is “ease of use”, which is why we have simplified and automated the calibration process as much as possible. The chlorophyll sensor is calibrated at 2 points. A zero point and a 500µg/l rhodamine dye point. A stock solution of rhodamine dye is provided, and a small dilution of the stock is required to make the 500µg/l solution.
Once your solution is made, the calibration involves placing the probe into the solution and selecting the correct calibration option from the menu. A calibration report is saved when complete.
There can sometimes be a difference between measured values with the sensor and laboratory data when taking measurements at a particular site. These differences are caused by a number of factors.
It is possible to apply a multiplier to the data obtained from our sensor in order to make it better correlate with lab data for that particular site. To do this, we use a grab sample factor. We can calculate this factor by dividing the average grab sample value (measured in the lab) by the average value measured by our chlorophyll sensor.
This is a great addition to the software when trying to correlate new data with historic readings from the same site.
Trying to accurately determine the number of cells present using fluorometric sensors is an indirect method of counting, thus not as accurate as direct cell counts that can be performed in a laboratory setting. Various external factors can affect the readings, for example, other microbiological species and compounds that fluoresce at similar wavelengths, differences in the fluorescent response between various species of phytoplankton, temperature, ambient light, and turbidity.
For these reasons, chlorophyll measurement taken directly in the field is intended for qualitative data collection over time to monitor changes in trend, not quantitative analysis.
A chlorophyll sensor is used to assess an abundance of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton populations can be affected by changes to the water’s phosphate, nitrate, and nutrient levels.
Whilst natural events such as rainfall and increased sunlight in the summer months can cause these changes, environmental pollution can also have a negative effect. Using a chlorophyll test kit to monitor the levels over an extended period of time will allow you to record the natural variation and potentially enable to you to spot pollution events that adversely affect the phytoplankton population.
A chlorophyll sensor works by sending a light beam into the water to be tested, at a fixed wavelength. This wavelength of light excites the chlorophyll which subsequently fluoresces at a known wavelength band. The level of excitation measured is proportional to the chlorophyll concentration in the water.
To use Aquaread’s chlorophyll sensor, first install it into your probe of choice, then perform a full calibration using rhodamine dye. Once calibrated, you can get testing. Simply put the probe into the body of water, allow the reading to stabilise, and take your chlorophyll measurement.
If you record a difference in chlorophyll levels vs a lab test at the same site, you can use the lab data to apply an offset, fine tuning the probe to detect correctly at that particular site.
Using a portable chlorophyll meter in the field allows near real-time data to be collected. It is a relatively simple method that, although indirect, allows measurements to be made in situ and in a time series. A chlorophyll meter is an ideal choice for researchers who are interested in detecting the presence or absence of chlorophyll and measuring relative fluorescent changes that can be used as an indication of increasing or decreasing concentrations.
Using a chlorophyll meter allows you to identify temporal and vertical patterns of phytoplankton biomass in a water body. This method is an effective measure of trophic status, a potential indicator of maximum photosynthetic rate and a measure of water quality. Another benefit of measuring chlorophyll in water is that phytoplankton react quickly to pulsed nutrient inputs that might otherwise go undetected by regular nutrient sampling.