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Citizen-led sampling to monitor phosphate levels in freshwater environments using a simple paper microfluidic device

Richardson, Samantha; Iles, Alexander; Rotchell, Jeanette M.; Charlson, Tim; Hanson, Annabel; Lorch, Mark; Pamme, Nicole


Alexander Iles

Tim Charlson

Annabel Hanson

Nicole Pamme


Contamination of waterways is of increasing concern, with recent studies demonstrating elevated levels of antibiotics, antidepressants, household, agricultural and industrial chemicals in freshwater systems. Thus, there is a growing demand for methods to rapidly and conveniently monitor contaminants in waterways. Here we demonstrate how a combination of paper microfluidic devices and handheld mobile technology can be used by citizen scientists to carry out a sustained water monitoring campaign. We have developed a paper-based analytical device and a 3 minute sampling workflow that requires no more than a container, a test device and a smartphone app. The contaminant measured in these pilots are phosphates, detectable down to 3 mg L-1. Together these allow volunteers to successfully carry out cost-effective, high frequency, phosphate monitoring over an extended geographies and periods.


Richardson, S., Iles, A., Rotchell, J. M., Charlson, T., Hanson, A., Lorch, M., & Pamme, N. (2021). Citizen-led sampling to monitor phosphate levels in freshwater environments using a simple paper microfluidic device. PLoS ONE, 16(12), Article e0260102.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 2, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 9, 2021
Publication Date Dec 9, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 2, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 4, 2022
Journal PLoS ONE
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 12
Article Number e0260102
Public URL


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Copyright Statement
Copyright: © 2021 Richardson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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