The beginning of a long, but interesting journey – University of Copenhagen

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NaToxAq > PhD Projects > ESR12 Marcel Schneider > News from ESR12 > The beginning of a lon...

08 August 2017

The beginning of a long, but interesting journey

First steps towards a doctoral degree

A small insight into the early stages of my life as a PhD student at the Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment – or RECETOX, as it is conveniently abbreviated.

by ESR12 Marcel Schneider

I started working on my PhD project within the NaToxAq network at RECETOX at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic in early May. During these first three months of my studies, I was mainly focusing on reviewing literature to identify the current state-of-the-art and further research needs. As this is an important and time consuming task, I will primarily deal with it for another few months and also every once in a while during the whole project. I also had the chance to start some preliminary experiments in the laboratory ozonating water and subsequently determining the dissolved ozone concentration using UV absorbance readings and the so called indigo method. The latter utilizes the oxidizing capability of ozone, which is why I am going to use it for degrading cyanobacterial toxins. An acidic aqueous solution of indigotrisulfonate is proportionally decolorized by dissolved ozone from dark blue to colorless depending on the ozone concentration1. Unfortunately, according to results of several UV readings and the indigo method, the ozonizator appeared to only generate insufficient amounts of ozone. After three months in the job, I already experienced what is probably one of the most important and crucial skills required from a researcher: problem solving. Luckily, this one seems to be easier as we simply decided to buy a new ozonizator after unsuccessfully running a few trials with the old one.

Indigotrisulfonate stock solution on the left-hand side and discoloration of the indigo dye caused by reaction with dissolved ozone on the right-hand side.

In autumn, I will personally meet my ESR colleagues for the first time at the NaToxAq summer school in Denmark and go to a conference in Spain. I am really looking forward to these two events.


1Bader H., Hoigné J. 1982. Determination of Ozone in Water by the Indigo Method: A submitted Standard Method. Ozone: Science & Engineering 4:169-176.