Freshwater phytoplankton and benthic diatoms proficiency tests

This kind of comparison tests with external entities are an essential requirement for quality assurance and control of the laboratory results.

Water Framework Directive is one of the most important reasons for developing these exercises. Due to one of the requirements of the WFD, which implies obtaining high quality and homogeneous results in order to be comparable across the European Union, it is a major necessity for laboratories to participate in comparison exercises.

Samples come from the natural environment, hence the taxonomic composition and cell density are similar to the ones normally found in the routine conditions of phytoplankton analysis.

The procedures in our phytoplankton PT are developed according to the following standards:

  • CEN EN 15204:2006 Guidance standard on the enumeration of Phytoplankton using inverted microscopy (Utermöhl tecnique).
  • EN 16695:2015 Guidance on the estimation of phytoplankton biovolume.
  • ISO 13528:2016 Statistical methods for use in proficiency testing by interlaboratory comparison.

Our proficiency test consists of three parts:

  1. Taxonomic identification
  2. Cell counting and cell density calculation
  3. Biovolume calculation

(click on the image to read more and sign up for the PT)

Certified reference materials

Such types of samples are important for the annual programme of quality control systems, since they permit the assays control in different subjects:

  • Validation
  • Precision
  • Accuracy
  • People formation
  • Reproducibility