Fluorescence Finds Pollutants in Water


Dissolved organic matter in water, which can be natural or from made-made pollutants, produces a natural fluorescence that can be seen using high-tech equipment.

Fluorescence is where molecules emit light after being energized -- glow in the dark toys fluoresce after being energized by ultra-violet daylight.

Researchers from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom say they took water from the River Ouseburn and found 70 percent of the samples could be correctly classified to the river's tributaries by measuring the natural fluorescence in the water.

Even though river water fluorescence cannot be seen by the naked eye, it can be picked up by spectrophotometers. The researchers say they can use fluorescence to monitor and detect organic pollutants.


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