Monitoring Fluoride in Water Using a Smartphone

Levin S, Krishnan S, Rajkumar S, Halery N, Balkunde P. Monitoring of fluoride in water samples using a smartphone. The Science of the Total Environment. 2016 Feb 11;551-552:101-107. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.01.156.

In several parts of India, groundwater is the only reliable, year round source for drinking water. Prevention of fluorosis, a chronic disease resulting from excess intake of fluoride, requires the screening of all groundwater sources for fluoride in endemic areas. In this paper, the authors present a field deployable colorimetric analyzer based on an inexpensive smartphone embedded with digital camera for taking photograph of the colored solution as well as an easy-fit, and compact sample chamber (Akvo Caddisfly). Phones marketed by different smartphone makers were used. Commercially available zirconium xylenol orange reagent was used for determining fluoride concentration. A software program was developed to use with the phone for recording and analyzing the RGB color of the picture. Linear range for fluoride estimation was 0-2mgl-1. Around 200 samples, which consisted of laboratory prepared as well as field samples collected from different locations in Karnataka, India, were tested with Akvo Caddisfly. The results showed a significant positive correlation between Ion Selective Electrode (ISE) method and Akvo Caddisfly (Phones A, B and C), with correlation coefficient ranging between 0.9952 and 1.000. In addition, there was no significant difference in the mean fluoride content values between ISE and Phone B and C except for Phone A. Thus the smartphone method is economical and suited for groundwater fluoride analysis in the field.

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