Calibration of fluorescence sensors for the quantification of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria

Sensileau regularly organises calibration events for specific sensor technologies to facilitate their daily use in water monitoring. An example of such an event is the yearly calibration of fluorescence sensors for the detection of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) for the purpose of bathing water monitoring under the EU Bathing Water Directive. Reliable and unambiguous monitoring results are essential, given the economic and social consequences of closing bathing waters in the summer months.

Specifically for fluorescence field monitors, Sensileau and its partners AqWa and NIOO have developed a calibration protocol, targeting two important parameters:

  1. quantification of total active chlorophyll-a
  2. distinction between various phytoplankton groups and quantification of total chlorophyll-a per group, based on pigment composition and absorption spectra

This protocol has been designed in such a way that both parameters can be adequately monitored and compared. It has resulted in a fairly extensive measurement programme, but this is essential for obtaining a better insight into the reliability of monitoring results. The calibration protocol requires the use of unialgal solutions of varying densities to carry out the required measurements. The results obtained with the fluorescence sensors are compared to well-established and accredited laboratory methodologies such as spectrophotometric analysis according to ISO 10260, or microscopic analysis combined with biovolume analysis. In addition to the calibration of the fluorescence sensors, participants are encouraged to analyse control samples on a weekly basis in order to monitor trends in the performance of the instrumentation.

Sensileau organises the calibration events together with our laboratory partners in the Netherlands: AQUON or Aqualab-Zuid.

Are you involved in the field monitoring of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria for source water or bathing water? Do you have a fluorescence monitoring device which needs occasional calibration? Join one of our calibration events where you can get your instrument calibrated, meet people with similar instrumentation, and exchange ideas on how best to carry out the monitoring programme.

I want to join a calibration event

Our calibration events and the training course on algae & cyanobacteria can easily be combined, and offer operators of field monitoring equipment an excellent opportunity to learn more about the calibration process and how to apply this sensor to obtain the best possible monitoring results. Interested? Check out our course programme and express your interest in participation.

Submit interest

Are you struggling with the calibration of other types of online sensors? We are here to help. Contact us with a brief description of the sensor type and the number of sensors you would like to calibrate, and we will get in touch to discuss your options. Depending on the facilities you have at your disposal, calibrations can be organised in-house or at one of our partner laboratories.

I want to calibrate other sensors