Soluble reactive phosphorous determination in wastewater treatment plants by automatic microanalyzers

Antonio Calvo-López, Oriol Ymbern, Mar Puyol, Julián Alonso-Chamarro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The analysis of soluble reactive phosphate (SRP) in water is key to control water quality. In order to continuous monitor orthophosphate content in water during treatment processes and in the effluents of wastewater treatment plants, conventional procedures, usually performed in a laboratory, must be adapted. This means pursuing efforts on miniaturizing systems to operate in situ and automating analytical methods to work on-line. The design, construction and evaluation of an automatic and low cost cyclic olefin copolymer (COC)-based spectrophotometric microanalyzer, capable of operating in unattended conditions, is presented to monitor soluble reactive phosphorous, as orthophosphate ion, in wastewater samples coming from sewage treatment plants. The microsystem, constructed by CNC micromilling and using a multilayer approach, integrates microfluidics to carry out the phosphomolybdenum blue (PMB) reaction and an optical flow-cell for the spectrophotometric orthophosphate determination in a single polymeric substrate smaller than a credit card. It is connected to a compact optical detection system composed by a LED emitting at 660 nm and a PIN-photodiode, both integrated in a PCB. Flow management is automatically performed by programmed microvalves and micropumps, which control autocalibration processes and allow unattended operation. Analytical features after the optimization of the microfluidic platform and the chemical and the hydrodynamic variables, were a linear range from 0.09 to 32 mg L−1 P and a detection limit of 0.03 mg L−1 P with a sampling rate of 24 samples h−1, demonstrating the microanalyzer suitability for SRP monitoring in water. Moreover, real samples were analyzed obtaining promising results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121508
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Environment
  • Lab on a chip
  • Miniaturization
  • Optical detection
  • Phosphorous
  • Wastewater


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