Through this project, funds are provided for the purchase of a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS). The acquisition of GC/MS capabilities greatly increases laboratory and research experiences for undergraduates in the growing field of environmental chemistry and science. This instrument bolsters the undergraduate course curriculum in environmental, analytical, and organic chemistry and provides new research topics in environmental chemistry for undergraduate students. Students benefitting from the strengthened environmental chemistry curriculum gain new experiences in the following areas: environmental sampling, sample preparation, fate and transport of trace organic compounds in the environment, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry. Students integrate laboratory skills developed in prior courses into the analytical methodologies and techniques required for environmental analysis. Emphasis is on development and testing of modern analytical techniques employing GC/MS. Class and research projects include sampling of on-site monitoring wells for pesticide and herbicide contamination of local groundwater resources, an evaluation of the persistence of anthropogenic chlorinated organic compounds in the environment, measurement of octanol-water partition coefficients of a variety of compounds, and analysis of zebra mussels in Lake Erie for bioaccumulation of trace organic compounds. The hope is that many nonmajors are attracted to these projects, particularly biology, environmental sciences, and geosciences students.
Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry in Undergraduate Chemistry and Science