Articles | Volume 11, issue 6
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-11-947-2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-11-947-2015
Technical note
 | 
07 Dec 2015
Technical note |  | 07 Dec 2015

Technical note: Could benzalkonium chloride be a suitable alternative to mercuric chloride for preservation of seawater samples?

J. Gloël, C. Robinson, G. H. Tilstone, G. Tarran, and J. Kaiser

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We assess benzalkonium chloride (BAC) as alternative to mercuric chloride (HgCl2) for preservation of seawater samples. BAC concentrations of 50mg dm–3 inhibited microbial activity for at least 3 days in samples tested with chlorophyll a concentrations up to 1mg m–3. With fewer risks to health and environment, and lower waste disposal costs, BAC could be a short-term alternative to HgCl2, but cannot replace it for oxygen triple isotope samples, which require storage over weeks to months.