The effect of 4 different 0.45 ??m pore size filter membrane systems on the 'dissolved' concentration of 28 elements in 5 natural water samples of varying matrix is reported. In 3 of the 5 waters, consistently higher concentrations of most elements (minor and trace) are obtained using Nucleopore 47 mm filter and the cellulose acetate/nitrate 47 mm filter than those measured using the 142 mm cellulose nitrate MFS filter or the Gelman capsule 47 mm filter. These distinct and coherent patterns in elemental behaviour disappear for the other 2 samples, an organic-rich peat water of high suspended load and a mineralised sample high in Si and Ca. Thus the nature and degree of filtration artifacts is matrix-dependent. These trends are evident in both data sets produced by 2 independent laboratories using different instrumentation, techniques and calibrating procedures. The average relative standard deviation in elemental concentration across the 4 filter types is in the range 9-21%. The presence of such filtration artifacts must be considered in projects where, for example, seasonal variability of water composition is under examination, data from various sources are being merged or hydrogeochemical surveys are being conducted.
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The effect of using different 0.45 ??m filter membranes on 'dissolved' element concentrations in natural waters