55954 - Environmental Analytical Chemistry

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Mara Mirasoli
  • Credits: 4
  • SSD: CHIM/01
  • Language: Italian

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student: - knows the main classes of organic and inorganic pollutants, their chemical-physical characteristics and their behavior in the water, soil and atmosphere compartments and in living organisms; - has acquired the basic information on REACH and CLP regulations; - knows the reference and innovative methods for sampling, treatment and analysis of different environmental matrices, such as water, air, soils and organisms; - is able to select the most suitable technique for the solution of a given analytical question on samples of environmental interest; - has basic knowledge of quality control procedures used in reference laboratories for environmental analysis; - is able to update his or her knowledge by consulting scientific publications in the field of environmental chemical-analytical disciplines.

Course contents

GENERAL PART. Main classes of pollutants, general information on pollutants (production, distribution, bioaccumulation and biomagnification), sampling.

Outline of European and Italian environmental legislation.

Quality assessment in the analytical laboratory according to international standards: outline of ISO 17025 and of the FDA standards for environmental analyzes.

WATER QUALITY. Solids, dissolved oxygen, BOD and COD, pH, conductivity, hardness, analytical techniques for common inorganic and organic ions (spectrophotometric techniques, potentiometric techniques based on ion-selective electrodes, ion chromatography). Insights: waste water treatment; water footprint, emerging pollutants (eg microplastics, water disinfection by-products).

ANALYSYS OF METALS AND INORGANIC SPECIES. Treatment of solid and liquid samples (solvent extraction, SPE, sample digestion and decomposition, gaseous hydride generation), atomic spectroscopy, spectrophotometry, chromatographic and electrochemical techniques. Examples of metal speciation in environmental samples. Insights: mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, chromium.

ANALYSIS OF VOLATILE AND SEMIVOLATILE ORGANIC SPECIES. Treatment of solid, liquid and gaseous samples (static and dynamic headspace extraction, SPME extraction, active and passive sampling systems), gaschromatography analysis. Insights: BTEX, MTBE, radon.

ANALYSIS OF NON-VOLATILE ORGANIC SPECIES. Treatment of solid and liquid samples (SPME extraction, SBSE, microwave-assisted extraction, accelerated solvent extraction, extraction with supercritical fluids), hints of environmental analysis using HPLC-MS and other specific detectors for environmental analyzes. Insights: POPs, dioxins and PCBs, PAHs, pesticides, perfluorinated alkyl substances, drugs and cosmetic products as emerging pollutants.

ANALYSIS OF ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTANTS. Atmospheric gases: sampling and analysis (traps, sensors, monitoring systems, portable analyzers); remote analysis by spectroscopy systems (LOAC and LIDAR differential spectroscopy). Atmospheric particulate matter: sampling and analysis. Insights: winter smog and photochemical smog, greenhouse gases, carbon footprint, gases that cause depletion of stratospheric ozone, indoor pollution.


Giannì. Le analisi chimiche ambientali - Dal campionamento al dato - Hoepli (2017)

Moret, Purcaro, Conte - Il campione per l'analisi chimica - Springer Verlag (2014)

Skoog, West, Holler, Crouch. Fondamenti di chimica analitica - Seconda EdizioneEdiSES (2004)

Harris - Chimica analitica quantitativa - Seconda Edizione Zanichelli (2005)

Baird - Chimica AmbientaleTerza Edizione - Zanichelli (2015)

Teaching methods

The course consists in lectures about the topics listed in the program.

Visits are planned to the laboratories of organizations that carry out certified environmental analyzes (eg ARPA section of Bologna).

Assessment methods

The learning assessment will take place through the final exam, which ensures the acquisition of knowledge and expected skills by an oral examination. The exam will assess the achievement of the following learning objectives:

- knowledge of the main issues related to environmental analysis;

- knowledge of the main analytical techniques employed in environmental analysis;

- knowledge of the sampling, treatment and analysis procedures regarding the most common environmental matrices (air, water, soil).

Teaching tools

PowerPoint presentations are used for the lectures. The material is available for the students on Virtuale

Office hours

See the website of Mara Mirasoli


Good health and well-being Clean water and sanitation Climate Action Oceans

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.