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Question:How do I...use luminescence with the spectrometer?

Ag8n is asking a question about spectrometer: Follow this topic

by Ag8n | August 12, 2021 01:26 | #27477


Many current lab ( as in hospital lab) instruments use bioluminesence or chemoluminescence for quantitation of blood samples. I think the spectrometer public lab has would also work, but that might involve additional software changes. Usually, it was integration of peaks over time that was used, similar to chromatography. But much longer in time. And sensitivity would depend on the specific "detector"(camera). Can anyone tell me if using the public labs spectrometer (with bioluminescent modifications) for the wastewater detection would work you are trying to do?



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Oh, super interesting idea! I don't know the answer, but have found some related research on fluorescence spectroscopy to detect wastewater.

There's this paper by Carstea et al.: Fluorescence spectroscopy for wastewater monitoring: a review. And this study: Using optical sensors to detect sewage contamination in the Great Lakes. The USGS contact on the Great Lakes project said their results would be published in a few months.

In the hospital lab context, is something added to blood samples to make them luminesce? Could something be added to wastewater to make certain compounds in it luminesce as well?

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Thank you for the papers. Still working my way through them. Wanted to comment on the difference between chemi-,bio-,and straight luminescence. Luminescence takes an activating light source, while the other two dont. This makes a big difference in the optics. Where normally ( with regular spectroscopy and luminescence) the cuvettes have to be carefully engineered (for example,so the sides are as close to parallel as possible) this isn't the case bioluminescence and chemiluminescence. Often, the sides used with chemi- and bio- are not parallel ( usually a no-no) and a convex lens may be built into the side closest to the detector. It increases sensitivity and since there are very few reflections, made cost cheaper.


Oh good point, and helpful to know that using chemi- or bioluminescence eases certain specs on materials. I'm going to keep looking into this, thank you!


Thank you for the help. Have you used ASTM D6592-1? It was written in 2001 and removed in 2010 (apparently for no revalidation). But it used chemiluminescence for some waste water work. Thank you. Regards.

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I'm still in the information-gathering stage, so unfortunately haven't done any tests myself yet! Thanks for the heads up about the standard test. Coincidentally, about an hour ago I realized I misunderstood a part of your question, and recognized that wastewater could potentially inhibit bioluminescence due to toxicity. (I was originally thinking of tagging compounds to see an increase in chemi/bioluminescence.)

This review paper by Abbas et al. rounds up research showing how the bioluminescence inhibition assay has (or hasn't) demonstrated toxicity from heavy metals, pesticides, industrial effluents, and treated wastewater. Vibrio fischeri bioluminescence inhibition assay for ecotoxicity assessment: A review

As for using a DIY spectrometer to measure light output, what you've described makes sense to me (integrating peaks over time). Are you planning to try these modifications?

Thanks for these neat ideas!

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I don't plan on making the modifications in the near future. If someone else would like to try it, feel free. To me, this is the initial investigation to see if everything makes sense or not. So far, it seems to.. But you know how that can go.


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The blood analyzer instruments from say 2000 were good, but not an order of magnitude better than those of a few years earlier. What was different was the chemistry. Although the instrument companies would probably argue that. They were doing all kinds of work with tagging compounds with chemiluminescents, flourescents, and just starting work on the bioluminescents. It was right about that time I changed companies. Lost track of the chemistry from there. But adding something to waste water for analysis is definitely a possibility.

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A big problem with this type of instrument isn't the concept. That's not too hard. It's getting the reaction to go at a decent rate. Not too fast or too slow. Don't know how they did that.

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