AT-824 Techniques for the Detection of Organo-Chemical Pollutants in the Arctic Environment (10 ECTS)

Fieldwork in Van Mijenfjorden

April 20, 2022
June 1, 2022
Spring semester (April–June), annually
10 ECTS with AT-324
Letter grade (A through F)
Curriculum/ reading list: Schwarzenbach (2007): “Environmental Organic Chemistry”, 3rd Ed.; Mandatory: Quality Control compendium. Optional; AMAP reports POPs temporal trends (2015); Chemicals of emerging Arctic concerns (2018); all available for free download at Mandatory: Literature and compendia provided by guest lecturers.
10/20 students (AT-324/824 in total)
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue. Non-programmable calculator
October 15, 2021


Roland Kallenborn
Roland Kallenborn
Adjunct professor, Environmental and Analytical Chemistry

UNIS contact person: Arne Aalberg.

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a relevant PhD programme. Comprehensive knowledge in organic analytical chemistry, and with experiences in chemical analysis (or other laboratory experience).

Academic content:

Today, a large number of organic chemicals are already identified as relevant environmental pollutants in Arctic environments. Detection, identification and quantification of these chemicals in ultra-trace levels are usually performed by applying well-established, validated and quality-controlled trace-analytical methods.

The course will introduce PhD students to preparation and quantification procedures for quantitative organo-chemical trace analysis and will also provide detailed information on feasibility and restrictions of modern trace analytical technologies. Focus will also be laid upon demonstration and discussion of challenges and pitfalls within modern trace analysis through practical experiences and experiments with Arctic environmental samples collected during the fieldwork.

The students will be introduced to the general scientific validation principles of modern ultra-trace analytical quantification methods for organic chemicals; learn through active field and laboratory work about the importance of sampling/ sample treatment as an integrated part of trace analysis, evaluate the complete process leading from sampling to trace amount quantification based upon modern trace analytical technology, have a first introduction in quality control and quality assurance criteria for modern trace analysis.

Learning outcomes:

Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • appreciate and actively assess the role of analytical chemistry as integrated environmental research topic for the overall environmental risk assessment in Arctic environments
  • understand the role of analytical chemistry in the comprehensive and interdisciplinary field of environmental science
  • understand and further develop quality criteria for the development of modern and advanced trace analytical methods for identification and quantification of emerging organic pollutants
  • know and actively apply the scientific principles and requirements underlying modern analytical chemical methods for the quantitative determination of environmental pollutants in Arctic environments
  • appreciate and actively develop logistical and technological requirements for conducting relevant fieldwork on environmental pollutant research under Arctic conditions.

Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • select and actively apply suitable strategies and technologies for a sound and reliable determination and quantification of organic pollutants based on scientific evaluation of available analytical instrumentation
  • further develop available analytical procedures along the required needs for new contaminants of emerging concern
  • perform a principal method validation based upon standard quality control (QC) criteria accepted in modern analytical laboratories
  • critically evaluate the quality of published data based upon QC protocols given in the respective reference and select reliable methods based upon scientific studies published in peer-reviewed journals
  • assign a method uncertainty to the respective analytical methods presented as important frame for subsequent statistical evaluations.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will be able to:

  • introduce validated analytical work flows into on-going trace analytical processes in academic and commercial laboratories
  • conduct method development on new quantitative trace analytical methods on contaminants of emerging concerns as scientific team-leader
  • argue for specific analytical technologies and methods in the competitive process of selecting a reliable quantitative science based trace analytical method for organic target chemicals.

Learning activities:

The course extends over ca. 6 weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AT-324.

The scientific focus will be on well-established quantitative trace analytical methods for poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), persistent organo-chlorine pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and organo-chlorine pesticides (OCP) as well as selected indicator compounds for local contaminant sources (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons = PAH).

The AT-824 students will actively participate in field work and laboratory experiments. They will join an assigned student group (together with AT-324 students) and contribute to the laboratory report as a part of the AT-824 compulsory learning activities.

In addition, the AT-824 students must prepare a written comprehensive scientific report on assigned experiments including a scientific literature-based topic associated to experiments (4500 words; background, experimental section, results put into a scientific context, motivation, including tables, figures and key references).

Total lecture hours: 30 hours.
Laboratory work: 70 hours.
Report work and supervision: 30 hours.
Field excursion: 3 days

Compulsory learning activities:

Attending all lectures in organic trace analysis; field excursions and laboratory report.
All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.


Method Duration
Percentage of final grade
Written report in manuscript form 50%
Oral examination (report discussion) 50%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
Each assessment is graded, and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available. 

Application deadline: 15 October 2021

Fieldwork in Van Mijenfjorden

AT-324/824 students on fieldwork in Van Mijenfjorden. Photo: Roland Kallenborn/UNIS.

Scooter excursion Svalbard

AT-324/824 students enroute to fieldwork. Photo: Roland Kallenborn/UNIS.

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The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Student inquiries:
E-mail: /
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454


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