There are different sensors available to get wireless information from the lake to the researchers. The information sent by such sensors needs to be verified and calibrated by analyzing water samples in the laboratory. Our laboratory analyses help companies in developing more reliable sensors.
In cities, stromwater is usually directly led to the water systems. This means that all the environmental contaminants will make surface water quality worse. AlmaLab participated in an project studying the load of heavy metals, nutrients and suspended solids in stormwater to a nearby lake.
Triazine herbicides were formerly used to control weeds. As a consequence of this, groundwater may still be contaminated by these compounds. The level of contamination and microbiological techniques to remediate groundwater were studied in AlmaLab using our gas chromatograph-mass spectrometers.
In a study, chlorophenols were used to change properties of soil. The following changes in microbial community were then assessed by quantitative PCR. The degradation of chlorophenols was simultaneously analysed with gas chromatography and masspectrometry.
In many research projects different environmentally harmful compounds in various sample types need to be determined. Such compounds include chlorinated dibenzodioxins and furans (PCDD/F), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), chlorinated phenols, synthetic mysks, bisphenol-A, hormones, heavy metals, nutrients, etc. AlmaLab has a variety of analyzers and skilled peronnel to determine such compounds.
Water quality is currently threatened by new emerging contaminants that could affect the aquatic ecosystems, physiological processes of living organism and even human health at large. Many of these pollutants are pharmaceuticals, pesticides or household chemicals. At present, wastewater treatment plants do not remove such compounds efficiently. In the MOTREM-project new wastewater treatment methods were investigated to improve processes for such emerging contaminants. AlmaLab participated these studies as a partner of an international consortium and developed methods for the analysis of these compounds in wastewater using time-of-flight mass spectrometers. The studies were conducted in 2015-2017 as a part of the JPI-Water programme of the EU. www.motrem.eu
Kiemura project studies methods to determine the amount of microplastic in soil and compost samples. Microplastics are polymers that have a particle size of 0.01-5 mm. Microplastics have spread all over in the environment but they are difficult to study because there are no good methods. We try to develop a simple method for quantitative determination of microplastics and continue to qualitative analysis if needed using a FT-IR analyzer connected to a microscope. The project is carried out in cooperation with the University of Florence and Lahti University of Applied Sciences. CoTrap continues from that and investigates if organic contaminants are transported in or on microplastics in recycled fertilizers onto agricultural fields.
Nature-Based Solutions Research Group concentrates to solve globally significant environmental problems. Research objects range from micro-organisms to ecosystems and to people prone to manmade environmental changes. The outburst of immune-mediated diseases, biodiversity loss, urban pollution and plant invasiveness are interrelated, and our group is working in multidisciplinary research initiatives to minimize the consequences. The major research projects of the group are ADELE – Immune defense and living environment, NATUREWELL and HEDIMED. ADELE and ImmunoGarden are funded by Business Finland, Naturewell by the Academy of Finland and HEDIMED by the European Union. ADELE aims for indoor solutions that can be scaled up to reduce the probability of immune mediated diseases. ImmunoGarden targets to develop organic gardening materials, mineral soil materials and plant-based solutions that combine positive effects on immune system with high end user value. NATUREWELL examines how interacting with nature affects the well-being and health of young people. HEDIMED (Human Exposomic Determinants of Immune Mediated Diseases) is a Horizon 2020 RIA initiative, and the focus of Nature-Based Solutions Research Group is the ecological characterization of general external environment.