Application of a Fast Isoprene Sensor (FIS) for measuring isoprene production from marine samples

Dan A. Exton, David J. Smith, Terry J. McGenity, Michael Steinke, Alan J. Hills, and David J. Suggett

Limnol. Oceanogr. Methods 8:185-195 (2010) | DOI: 10.4319/lom.2010.8.0185

ABSTRACT: Research into isoprene production from marine sources traditionally relies on gas chromatography techniques which are labor intensive, provide a slow sample turnover, and require significant method training. An alternative method is the use of a Fast Isoprene Sensor (FIS), a chemiluminescence-based approach that provides real time isoprene analysis, but is relatively simple to run and also portable. Until now, the FIS has been used in terrestrial but not aquatic isoprene studies. Due to the added difficulties with marine compared with terrestrial sampling, particularly potential interference from dimethyl sulfide (DMS), we have developed a new protocol that allows accurate and reliable data to be obtained from FIS analysis. The detection limit of our modified system to standard gas was 0.02 nM (0.5 ppbv), while minimum isoprene production detected by the FIS was 0.59 nmol h–1 (for Thalassiosira weissflogii). We also compared our FIS-based approach with GC analysis of isoprene emission from marine samples of micro- and macro-algae, and demonstrated a strong similarity (r2 = 0.910, slope = 1.003). The ability to use FIS analysis with marine samples will significantly broaden the scope of isoprene research in marine environments, permitting remote field work, and allow previously unanswered questions to be addressed.